Jerusalem – Mr. Moshe Talansky, an American businessman, was cross-examined on Thursday by the Israeli Prime Minister Olmert’s defense team.
Seven weeks ago, Mr. Talansky provided testimony that incriminated Israel’s Prime Minister for alleged fraud and breach of trust as well as tax offenses.
At that time, Mr. Talansky stated he had provided about $150,000 in cash for Mr. Olmert between 1992 and 2005, when he was Mayor of Jerusalem and later when he was senior Israeli cabinet minister.
It was reported that Mr. Olmert did not deny having personally received those envelopes, including during times when he was not involved in an election campaign, and other times when he was, and used the money for his campaign.
Some of the money allegedly included loans that were never repaid, while other funds were said to have paid for Mr. Olmert’s expenses incurred when he went overseas and paid for his private vacation in Italy.
Mr. Talansky said he never received receipts for the cash he allegedly transferred.
It is alleged that Mr. Olmert did indeed help Mr. Talansky in his mini-bar business by, among other ways, talking to customers on his client’s behalf.
It was further alleged that Mr. Olmert never repaid Mr. Talansky $300,000 that was used as security for debts incurred by the nonprofit organization that helped Mr. Olmert win his races for mayor of Jerusalem in 1993 and 1998.
Mr. Olmert’s lawyers asked many questions of Mr. Talansky, to try to undermine Mr. Talansky’s credibility. Mr Olmert’s lawyers repeated one question, over and over: Did he know that what he was doing was illegal?
The answer that Mr. Talansky gave was a simple “No.”
At no time in the cross examination did Mr. Olmert’s lawyers question the fact that this American businessman provided large amounts of cash to Mr. Olmert, in envelopes, with no record of the transaction recorded in any legal way.
Mr. Talansky’s testimony is said to represent the straw that has broken the proverbial camel’s back after a series of allegations of corruption charges against Mr. Olmert.
He now faces what many are saying will be a tough primary election in his Kadima political party in September. Many say he is not expected to win.
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Web site is www. IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2008