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Attorney general Mazuz orders criminal probe against Olmert
Attorney general orders criminal investigation against prime minister over suspicions he purchased Jerusalem flat for discount price in exchange for granting construction company illegal building permits. PM's Office: Police investigation unnecessary Aviram Zino
Published: 09.24.07, 14:32 / Israel News
Attorney General Menachem Mazuz ordered a criminal investigation against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert over suspicions that a friend bribed him by selling a Jerusalem house for a discount price.
Olmert is suspected of purchasing a Jerusalem flat from a friend for a price $320,000 cheaper than the property's market value in return for helping the construction firm that refurbished the apartment block gain illegal building permits.
The Prime Minister's office said in a statement Monday that it was "confident in the steps taken by the Olmert family prior to purchasing the apartment on Jerusalem's Cremieux Street… We regret the decision to open what we are sure will prove to be an unnecessary police investigation."
The statement also said that the prime minister would cooperate with the investigation.
Olmert. Another investigation (Photo: Reuters)
The prime minister is already under criminal investigation in the matter of the privatization of Bank Leumi.
The allegations claim that during his tenure as minister of finance, Olmert broke the law for two of his friends – Daniel Abrams and Frank Lowy – with whom he conducted, directly and indirectly, a relationship plagued by bribes.
The State Prosecution recommended on July 8 that Mazuz launch a criminal investigation against Olmert after State Comptroller Micha Lindstrauss pointed to irregularities in Olmert's purchase of the apartment.
The prime minister purchased the garden apartment on Cremieux Street for $1.2 million when the flat was estimated at over $1.6 million.
The flat was purchased in October 2004 from the Alumot real estate agency.