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Israeli Police Question Former PM on Bribery Scandal


A former Israeli leader is under investigation in a major corruption scandal.

Israeli police questioned former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for eight hours on suspicion that he took hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in a real estate scandal.

Attorney Michael Partem is the deputy chairman of the Movement for Quality Government in Israel. "It's too early to say if this is the largest scandal, money wise, in Israeli history. It certainly is the most visible," he said.

The case involves the construction of a gigantic, luxury apartment project when Mr. Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003. The project has been dubbed the "cement monster."

"Every day thousands of commuters can drive by the project and see it sticking out like a sore thumb on the horizon," said Partem. "So many Jerusalemites over the years have said to themselves: something is wrong with this project."

Mr. Olmert is already is already on trial for other corruption charges which forced him to resign as prime minister in 2008. He is accused of taking envelopes stuff with cash from an American Jewish businessman to support a lavish lifestyle.

He also allegedly double and triple billed Jewish and Israeli institutions for public trips abroad and pocketed the difference. This allegedly took place when he was mayor of Jerusalem and a cabinet minister, prior to becoming prime minister in 2006.

Mr. Olmert denies any wrongdoing. He says he has never taken a bribe and is the target of a witch hunt.

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