Friday, November 24, 2017

Former Israeli leader Ehud Olmert sentenced to 6 years in prison

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JERUSALEM — One of Israel's highest-profile court cases ended Tuesday with a scathing critique of public corruption, harsh jail sentences and a former prime minister sent to prison, effectively ending Ehud Olmert's decades-long political career.

Olmert was found guilty in late March of two counts of accepting bribes as part of a massive real estate scam known as the "Holyland affair."

The scandal gets its name from a controversial Jerusalem development, a chain of residential buildings approved and built amid what prosecutors said was widespread objection, irregularities and corruption.

The project began during Olmert's tenure as mayor of Jerusalem in the 1990s. He was elected prime minister in 2006 and announced his resignation in 2008 amid separate corruption allegations, but remained in office until elections were held in 2009.

On Tuesday, Olmert was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay a $290,000 fine. Six others, among them Jerusalem's former city engineer, a sitting city council member and a business entrepreneur, were sentenced to jail terms of between three and eight years and ordered to pay hefty fines.

Several others convicted of taking or offering bribes, including Uri Lupoliansky, who succeeded Olmert as mayor, are to be sentenced in coming days.

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