Hot Off The Presses: Ex-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert sat in court today and denied all charges against him. He was charged with fraud, breach of trust, falsifying corporate records, tax evasion and fraudulently obtaining benefits to which the State attributes aggravated circumstances.

This indictment actually covers four separate investigations: the Rishon Tours affair, deceptions of the State Comptroller’s Office and his former bureau chief Shula Zaken‘s wiretapping of his telephone; and his relationship with attorney, Uri Messer.

MIDEAST ISRAEL OLMERT TRIALIn the Rishon Tours affair, Olmert is charged with obtaining something by deceit under aggravated circumstances, false entry into the documents of a corporate body, fraud and breach of faith, and concealing income by deceit.

Also, while he ultimately went uncharged, the police recommended that the indictment include his alleged involvement in the Moshe Talansky case – in which he was accused of accepting money from a private businessman, a religious right-wing American, who had donated the funds to be used in the expansion of settlements; money which Olmert told no one of, and deposited in his own private bank account.

While on the stand in September, Olmert said,

“I come here as an innocent man, and I believe I will leave here as an innocent man.”

The ex-Prime Minister’s lawyer, Eli Zohar submitted his statement on Monday, saying:

“I would like to take the opportunity of this day to make a comprehensive denial of all the allegations made against Olmert in the indictment.”

The testimonial stages of the trial will commence on February 22, 2010. The hearings will be held three times a week on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.