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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).
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 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.

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"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.

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