Olmert faces new corruption charges

Friday, May 02, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Friday was questioned under caution by police regarding fresh corruption charges that are still under wraps due to a court gag order.

Olmert was only scheduled to be questioned several months from now, but police suddenly rescheduled the interrogation for Friday after fears were raised that the prime minister would corroborate his testimony with his secretary of 30 years, Shula Zaken, who was questioned on Tuesday.

Israeli media reported that the police have also attained new evidence regarding previous charges that Olmert accepted bribes to help advance the interests of personal friends when he was minister of industry and trade under former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Friday's news led to a chorus of calls from lawmakers across the political spectrum for Olmert to step down, or at the very least for Attorney-General Menachem Mazuz to suspend the prime minister until the conclusion of the investigation.

Opposition lawmakers urged the Labor Party to quit Olmert's coalition and help topple the government.

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