Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Tell me how much you would pay for this sculpture?

"Tikkun" by Aliza Olmert

The probe against the activities of Israeli Prime Minister heats up considerably. An Israeli judge ruled earlier in the week to keep the gag order in place until at least Sunday but a New York newspaper has named the American alleged to have bribed the Israeli Prime Minister. NY Post:
Millionaire financier Morris Talansky - who runs an investment firm out of his 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.
Shula Zakan (Olmert's long-time assistant) is currently under house arrest by the Israeli police and forbidden to communicate with Olmert. The rumour mill is grinding full-time and run the gauntlet of speculation from bribes to Olmert for his personal enrichment using purchases of his wife’s artwork for cover to accepting bribes for concessions to the Palestinians while he was mayor of Jerusalem. What will be fascinating to learn is exactly what motivated the ‘laundry man’..regardless of how it shakes out or not, Ynet News is reporting Kadima members are speculating the fallout may lead to a fall election.
The latest investigation against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert could shake up the political system and lead to new elections, a senior Kadima official said Tuesday night. "This time, there is a chance for a big shake-up in the political system, and we may even have elections in the coming months," the source, who asked to remain anonymous, said. "For the time being it's difficult to say whether Olmert will survive this affair too, despite the strength he has been displaying."

Meanwhile, the Kadima official and other party members are increasingly calling for a review of the conduct of police and the State Prosecutor's Office in the affair and particularly the decision to issue a gag order, which is preventing Olmert from defending himself publicly.
I suppose that is one way to spin it but I can only hope it will lead to a Knesset revolt which will result in an election being held.

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