Israel’s ex-PM Ehud Olmert has been sentenced to 18 months in jail for bribery.
Ehud Olmert, 70, had been sentenced to six years by a lower court in 2014, but this was reduced by the Supreme Court.
He was convicted over a real estate deal that took place while he served as mayor of Jerusalem, prior to becoming prime minister in 2006.
Ehud Olmert, who stepped down in 2009, will become the first former Israeli head of government to go to prison.
He is due to begin his sentence on February 15.
The Supreme Court acquitted Ehud Olmert of receiving a 500,000-shekel ($130,000) bribe from the developers of Holyland, a controversial block of flats in Jerusalem, after he appealed against the March 2014 conviction.
A separate conviction of illicitly taking a 60,000-shekel payment for another project was upheld.
Ehud Olmert said following the ruling: “A heavy weight was lifted from my chest today, when the Supreme Court exonerated me of the main charge, of Holyland.
“No bribe was ever offered to me and I never accepted one.”
Several other government officials and businesspeople were convicted alongside Ehud Olmert in 2014.
The judge at the time said he was guilty of “moral turpitude”.
In a separate case, Ehud Olmert was sentenced earlier this year to eight months in prison for fraud and breach of trust for accepting illegal payments from an American businessman.
The Supreme Court is yet to rule on Ehud Olmert’s appeal in that case.
Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has been found guilty in the Morris Talansky case after a corruption retrial.
The Jerusalem District Court on March 30 found Ehud Olmert guilty of fraud and breach of trust.
The judges noted that new evidence provided to the court disproves Ehud Olmert’s version of events, according to which he claimed the money involved in the case was “political money” and not a personal bribe.
All three judges ruled unanimously in finding Ehud Olmert guilty. His sentence will be determined on May 7.
Ehud Olmert had been acquitted in 2012 of taking envelopes stuffed with money from a US-based supporter.
However, a retrial was ordered after the emergence of recordings in which he referred to receiving the money.
Ehud Olmert, who served as Israeli prime minister from 2006 to 2009, is currently appealing a conviction for bribery in 2014 for which he was sentenced to six years.
His lawyers say they are considering appealing the latest conviction.
Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has been sentenced to six years in prison for bribery and fined 1 million shekels ($289,000).
Ehud Olmert’s spokesman said he would appeal to the Supreme Court and ask to be freed on bail until it had ruled. He had sought a non-custodial sentence.
He would be the first former head of government in Israel to be jailed.
Ehud Olmert, 68, was convicted in March over a real estate deal that took place while he served as mayor of Jerusalem.
Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has been sentenced to six years in prison for bribery
The Tel Aviv District Court found him guilty of two bribery charges and said he had accepted 500,000 shekels ($145,000) from the developers of a controversial apartment complex, known as Holyland, and another 60,000 shekels in a separate real estate project.
On Tuesday, Judge Uri Rozen said bribery offences “contaminate the public sector” and “cause the structure of government to collapse”.
He added: “People who receive bribes give rise to a feeling of disgust and cause the public to despise the state’s institutions. The taker of bribes is like a traitor who betrays the public trust that was given to him – trust without which a proper public service cannot be maintained.”
Ehud Olmert’s spokesman, Amir Dan, insisted he was innocent.
“This is a sad day where a serious and unjust verdict is expected to be delivered against an innocent man,” he said.
Ehud Olmert served as prime minister from 2006 to 2009, until a flurry of corruption allegations led to his resignation.
He was acquitted of most of the major charges eventually brought against him by prosecutors but was also found guilty of breach of trust and given a one-year suspended jail sentence.
Ehud Olmert was found to have made decision when he was minister of trade and industry that benefited clients of a close associate.
Former Israeli PM Ehud Olmert has been convicted of bribery in a case which forced him to resign to office in 2008.
Ehud Olmert was convicted in what is known as the “Holyland affair” in which bribes were paid and received to speed up a luxury property development.
Ehud Olmert has been convicted of bribery in a case which forced him to resign to office in 2008 (photo Flash90)
The 68-year-old former prime minister has already been cleared in several other corruption trials.
He had denied wrongdoing and had hinted at a political comeback.
Delivering the verdict in Tel Aviv on Monday, Judge David Rozen said the case “exposed governance that grew more corrupt and rotten over the years”, with bribes paid to public officials,” the Associated Press news agency reported.
Former Kadima party leader Ehud Olmert succeeded Ariel Sharon as prime minister after the latter had a stroke in January 2006. He was mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003.
In 2012, Ehud Olmert was cleared of two major corruption charges but convicted of illegally granting favors to a business friend during his time as trade and industry minister under Ariel Sharon.
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