Israeli ex-PM Olmert convicted of bribery

Former premier convicted of receiving bribes in two separate cases, one of which linked to a Jerusalem residential complex

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Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was convicted on corruption charges linked to a major property development in Jerusalem, according to Israeli media reports on Monday.

The former premier was convicted of receiving bribes in two separate cases, one of which was linked to construction of Jerusalem's massive Holyland residential complex dating from when he was the city's mayor, public Channel 1 television reported.

In 2010, he was named as the key suspect in the so-called Holyland affair on suspicion that he received bribes totaling some 1.5 million shekels ($430,000), although the prosecution later reduced the sum received by about half, according to Agence France-Presse.

Judge David Rozen, handing down the conviction in Tel Aviv District Court, said the case "exposed governance that grew more corrupt and rotten over the years," with bribes paid to public officials, according to Reuters news agency.

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.

In July 2013, a Jerusalem court found Olmert guilty of breach of trust in a closely watched corruption case, but cleared him on two more serious charges related to the alleged receipt of cash-stuffed envelopes and multiple billing for trips abroad.

He was fined $19,000 and given a suspended jail sentence for graft.

The conviction related to favors that Olmert granted a former colleague while serving as the trade and industry minister.

(With AFP and Reuters)