The Path of Bribery - from Holyland to Cremieux

The connection between the Holyland and Cr�mieux affairs.

Published: May 16th 2010
in News » Israel

Ehud Olmert
Pic: Knesset

The Holyland case has gone down from the headlines in recent days. Temporarily, of course. The big battle is still ahead. The police and the prosecution are preparing for the next move: the investigation of the chief criminal Ehud Olmert, both for fraud and breach of trust as well as for bribery offences.


Olmert's investigation, which was delayed in recent weeks because of judicial inquiries conducted mainly in the U.S., is expected to take place within the next two weeks. Olmert's court interpreters, including those responsible for the vilifying campaign, will not tip the scale. This time, we should hope, the law will be exhausted with Olmert.


The material already gathered by the investigation team indicates the bribe routes which were paved and exploited in two major cases: the Holyland case and the Crémieux affair. An investigation of the conduct in these two cases leads to the conclusion that Olmert himself, along with former city engineer Uri Shitrit, committed the most serious criminal offenses, including receiving bribes and brokerage of bribes. Under these circumstances, State Prosecutor Moshe Lador will do well if he acts towards exhausting the investigation in these directions. Here are some facts that have been made known to News1, linking Olmert directly to the bribery offenses.


a) The Holyland Case
* Olmert accepted bribes worth more than a million shekels, from the main witness in the Holyland case, Shmuel Dachner. The money was transferred by Yossi Olmert (Ehud's brother). Some of the money was provided in cheques and some in cash, during the years 2000-2004. These were given to Yossi Olmert - before he fled abroad because of debts - under the direction of Ehud Olmert;


* Uri Shitrit, former city engineer of Jerusalem, received more than a million shekels from Shmuel Dachner. The money given to him - under the direction of Ehud Olmert;


* Olmert and Shitrit worked together to promote the Holyland project, and help the entrepreneurs (Hillel Charney and the Polar Investments company) in turning it from a tourism project to an apartment project, at first when Olmert served as mayor of Jerusalem. Later, when he served as a government minister and head of the Israel Lands Administration Council, Olmert assisted the Holyland entrepreneurs to advance the Manara Cliff project;


* Olmert and Shitrit helped in increasing the construction rights in Holyland by about 1,200 per cent. Olmert also participated, as an exception - he was not required to participate in the meetings of the Planning and Building Committee - in the crucial meeting that led to the approval of irregular construction rights. At that meeting, he urged the commissioners to approve the project;


* After News1 exposed the Holyland case in July 2009, Shitrit and Olmert began to fear a police investigation. An attempt was then made to “fabricate” documents that presented a loan to Shitrit rather than bribery (they did this when an undercover investigation was already under way. In other words: they disrupted the course of the investigation).


b) The connection to the Crémieux affair
* In 2004, when Uri Shitrit served as city engineer, he secretly worked on providing permits for the Crémieux project, which allowed Olmert to purchase the most prestigious garden apartment in the project (which contained only three units) at a cost of $1.2 million, instead of $1.68 million (the market price). Olmert received a forbidden and illegal discount from Alumot (the entrepreneur) for a total of $480 thousand ($330 thousand net), without reporting about it;


* Shitrit placed heavy pressure on the chairman of the Planning and Building Committee in Jerusalem, Yehoshua Pollack (who also served at the same time as Conservation Committee chairman), to assist in providing the permits, despite the conservation duty applied to the site, and despite the fact that other developers who sought similar permits had been rejected earlier.


* Shitrit also placed heavy pressure on his then deputy, Osnat Post, to personally participate in the Conservation Committee meeting and literally push the committee to allow the permit, despite the fact that Post had never before participated in a meeting of the Conservation Committee, and despite the fact that her participation was a deviation from her duties.


Related articles: (Ehud Olmert, Holyland, Cremieux, bribes)

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