New York paper reveals details of Olmert corruption probe

Tuesday, May 06, 2008 |  by Staff Writer

Israeli media is under a strict gag order regarding publication of details of a new police probe into alleged past improprieties by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, but the New York Post is not subject to the Israeli courts and on Tuesday published some shocking information.

According to the newspaper, when Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem he accepted several hefty bribes from Long Island Jewish businessman Morris Talansky. Olmert's long-time chief of staff, Shula Zaken, was also part of the illegal dealings, and is currently under house arrest until the end of the investigation.

A source connected to the investigation told the Post that in several financial logs from that period, Zaken refers to Talansky as "The Laundry Man," though it remains unclear what the 75-year-old tycoon was paying Olmert for.

Israeli media did reveal on Tuesday that police plan to question a foreign national in connection to the case, presumably Talansky, who is currently staying at an apartment he owns in Jerusalem. Both Talansky and Zaken are reportedly prepared to turn state's witness in return for immunity, which could lead to a very rapid downfall for Olmert.

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