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Israel's State Prosecutor Orders Criminal Investigation of Prime Minister Olmert

Israel's justice ministry says it has ordered a criminal investigation into Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's role in the sale of an Israeli bank two years ago.

Media reports say police will question Mr. Olmert about allegations that he tried to help two friends buy Bank Leumi, one of Israel's largest financial institutions, which was going private. The friends were unsuccessful in their bids.

Israeli media have said police might also want to question Mr. Olmert about another case involving appointments he made to a business authority when he was industry minister in 2004.

The investigation announced Tuesday is the latest involving the prime minister. The state comptroller has already investigated Mr. Olmert's real estate dealings but has found no wrongdoing.

Recently Mr. Olmert's personal secretary, Shula Zaken, was placed under house arrest as part of a corruption probe.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.