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Israeli prosecution closes one case against PM
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09:27, December 05, 2008

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Israel's State Prosecutor Moshe Lador decided on Thursday to close a case against scandals-enveloped caretaker Prime Minister Ehud Olmert due to lack of evidence, local daily The Jerusalem Post reported.

In the case known as the Bank Leumi affair, Olmert was originally suspected of changing the terms of a tender that the government was about to issue for the sale of core ownership of the local bank when he was serving as acting finance minister in 2005, said the report.

"The details of Olmert's conduct based on the existent evidence have led to my conclusion that even if Olmert did indeed act in a conflict of interest, it was to a relatively mild degree, and even if he deviated from norm, the deviation was limited," Lador was quoted as saying.

Only suspicions which can be backed by evidence beyond reasonable doubt can lead to a criminal conviction, he added.

Although this case was closed, Olmert is also facing several others, which eventually forced him to resign from the premiership in September. He would remain in power as a caretaker leader till a new government is formed following a general election in February.

Last month, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz said that he was considering filing an indictment against Olmert in another case for the misuse of state funds to finance private trips abroad, which led to mounting calls for him to suspend himself.

For his part, Olmert denies any wrongdoing in all the cases, and has so far ruled out the possibility of self-suspension.


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