Former Israeli Prime minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced on Monday morning for eight months in jail by the Jerusalem high court after being convicted for bribery and the breaching of trust in what has been dubbed the “cash envelopes” case.
Olmert already has a six year prison sentence received last year for bribery in another case which marked the end of Olmert’s political career.
Morris Talansky, a Jewish American business man from New York, visited Olmert frequently during his term as mayor of Jerusalem.
The court believed Olmert received about $600,000 from Talansky between 1993 and 2002, and additional amounts in cash during his term as a Cabinet minister, but did not find evidence the money had been used for unlawful personal reasons or illegal campaign financing.
Talansky had testified the money was spent on expensive cigars, first-class travel and luxury hotels, while insisting he received nothing in return.
Olmert’s lawyers had hoped he’d get no extra jail time and only six months of community service, but the court wanted to sentence him to 18 months in jail.
The sentence was later reduced to 8 months in jail and a $25,000 fine.
Shula Zaken, Olmert’s office manager and confidante was a witness for the prosecution, offering diary entries and tape recordings of conversations with Olmert about illicitly receiving cash, leading to a retrial.
In the recordings, Olmert is heard telling Zaken not to testify in the first trial so she would not incriminate him.
The judges concluded that Olmert didn’t report the money and instead gave Zaken part of the money in exchange for her loyalty and silence, and using the rest to upgrade his personal property.