Israel's Olmert dodges jail time in graft case
A Jerusalem court on Monday handed former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert a US$19,000 fine and a suspended jail sentence for graft, meaning he will serve no jail time, Israeli media reported.
The Jerusalem District Court sentenced the former premier to a one year jail sentence suspended for three years and fined him 75,300 shekels (US$19,200), the reports said.
Reading the 27-page ruling, Judge Mussiya Arad said Olmert was guilty of a “grave and absolute conflict of interest” and that the gravity of the case required “a practical response,” Israeli public radio reported.
On July 10, the court found Olmert guilty of breach of trust in a closely watched corruption case, but cleared him on two other charges, in a verdict he himself declared was just.
The conviction related to favours that Olmert granted a former colleague while he was serving as the trade and industry minister and could have seen him face a jail term of up to three years.
Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003, after which he served as a cabinet minister, holding the trade and industry portfolio as well as several others, before becoming premier in 2006.
He led the centre-right Kadima party into government, but resigned from the premiership in September 2008 after police recommended that he be indicted in several graft cases.
Olmert still faces a second trial over allegations he accepted bribes during his time as Jerusalem mayor to pave the way for the construction of the city’s massive Holyland residential complex.