Skip to main content

Ex-Israeli prime minister accused of corruption gets mixed verdict

From Michael Schwartz, CNN
updated 10:25 AM EDT, Tue July 10, 2012
Ehud Olmert became Israel's prime minister in 2006, succeeding Ariel Sharon who suffered a massive stroke (file photo).
Ehud Olmert became Israel's prime minister in 2006, succeeding Ariel Sharon who suffered a massive stroke (file photo).
  • Ehud Olmert says he will "learn the lessons" from his conviction
  • Olmert remains a suspect in the unrelated Holyland corruption trial
  • He is convicted of breach of trust and acquitted on two corruption-related charges
  • Those allegations stemmed from his time as mayor of Jerusalem

Jerusalem (CNN) -- The corruption trial of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ended Tuesday with a mixed verdict.

Olmert was found guilty of breach of trust, but was acquitted on two corruption-related charges.

The allegations stemmed from 2002 to 2006, when Olmert served a second term mayor of Jerusalem and held several cabinet posts under then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Prosecutors accused Olmert of double-billing government agencies for travel, taking cash from an American businessman in exchange for official favors and acting on behalf of his former law partner's clients.

Israeli political heavyweights publicly spar over Iran policy

Former Israeli PM looks at Iran crisis
Olmert on America's influence

"The court decided that I breached trust. I honor the decision of the court, and will learn the lessons from this," Olmert said outside the courtroom. "I want to remind you that the court said that there were procedural problems -- not corruption, I never got anything. I acted in a way which was counter to procedure. I honor that, and take it to my heart."

He said nothing about his political future and thanked his lawyers for their work.

But Olmert still faces legal trouble as one of 16 suspects charged in the ongoing Holyland corruption trial, which involves developers who allegedly paid bribes to senior Jerusalem municipal officials in exchange for expedited approval of permits for a construction project.

Olmert became prime minister in 2006 after succeeding Sharon, who suffered a massive stroke. He announced his resignation in August 2008 after Israeli police recommended that he stand trial.

Olmert: Right-wing U.S. cash killed my peace plan

He left office after a new government took power in March 2009.

Earlier this year, Olmert told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that millions of dollars from the "extreme right wing" in the United States helped oust him from government and derailed a peace plan with the Palestinians.

In 2008, Olmert sought a "full comprehensive peace between us and the Palestinians" -- a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. But the plan was never realized, and Olmert was forced from office accused of corruption. He had denied the allegations.

"I had to fight against superior powers, including millions and millions of dollars that were transferred from this country (the United States) by figures which were from the extreme right wing that were aimed to topple me as prime minister of Israel. There is no question about it," Olmert told CNN.

Pressed to name names, Olmert replied: "Next time."

CNN's Elise Labott and Michal Zippori contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.