This is from the NYPost
A Long Island mogul is at the center of a sensational bribery scandal that could bring down embattled Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, The Post has learned.
Millionaire financier Morris Talansky – who runs an investment firm out of his tony home in Woodmere – allegedly passed money to Olmert while the politician was mayor of Jerusalem in the ’90s, sources said.
In a highly unusual move, Israeli authorities have barred the country’s media from publishing Talansky’s name – revealed now in The Post – saying it could hamper their investigation. Israeli media has referred only to the involvement of an “American businessman.”
Talansky is apparently set to sing to Israeli authorities about his alleged role in the scheme, sources said.
“It looks serious, and it looks like they have a state witness” in Talansky, one source said.
Talansky – a philanthropist and political contributor to everyone from Rudy Giuliani to Bill Clinton – is in Jerusalem, where he has an apartment, preparing to head to a closed-door court hearing as early as today, sources said.
The 75-year-old was earlier questioned about the alleged scheme almost immediately after arriving in the country for Passover, and he implicated Olmert, sources have said.
It was unclear what the alleged payments to Olmert were for, but sources said they involved hefty amounts of cash.
Talansky repeatedly appears – sometimes under the nickname “The Laundry Man” – in the logs of financial dealings kept by Olmert’s longtime aide, Shula Zakan, a source said.
Olmert was grilled by investigators Friday. He has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
The allegations are only the latest in a string of woes for Olmert, who has battled past charges of government corruption and questionable personal business practices.
“But this time seems very serious, and it seems eventually, we don’t know if it will be days, weeks or months, in the end, he may not be able to continue to be prime minister,” one source said.
A man answering the phone at Talansky’s multimillion-dollar mansion in Woodmere yesterday said, “He’s not available.”
Talansky lists himself as CEO of the Global Resources Group, a self-described financial-investment firm.
Ehud Olmert , the Israeli Prime Minister, is again suspected of corruption. On Friday, police investigators including the Head of the National Fraud Unit came knocking on Ehud Olmert’s door at his official residence in Jerusalem. Olmert was questioned on suspicion of receiving bribes from an American businessman a few years ago.
The prime minister answered all of the investigators’ questions on the subject, and will continue to cooperate with all legal authorities to the extent he is required to do so,” said the official statement from Olmert’s office.
Another official statement from the Prime Minister’s office said he “is convinced that with the discovery of the truth in the police investigation, the suspicions against him will dissipate.”
The Israeli Prime Minister might be facing serious allegations. Can Olmert politically survive this last high profile interrogation that connects him to severe corruption affair? In the last few years, Olmert has demonstrated fantastic survival skills in the political arena.
A senior source has told the media in response: “Olmert is in a grave situation, it is doubtful whether he will be able to continue to hold his position.” In the meantime, Ehud Olmert denies all allegations.
Israeli ministers certainly make police forces work hard these days. Israeli former finance minister , Avraham Hirchson, also faces criminal investigation , suspected of being involved in the embezzlement of 10 million dollars, partly from a charity fund.
The list does not end here unfortunately.
I guess many MKs will not be celebrating Israel’s Independence Day next week.