Israel ex-PM rejects allegations of receiving illicit cash envelopes

10:23, June 17, 2011      

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Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert on Thursday denied that he accepted cash-filled envelopes from a Jewish American businessman, calling the allegations "a fantasy," the Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday

In testimony at the Jerusalem District Court as part of an ongoing corruption trial, Olmert commented for the first time on what has become known as the "Talansky Affair," in which he was accused of receiving funds that were not reported to the to the tax authorities from Morris Talanksy, a financier.

Olmert admitted to having received the funds, but claimed the funds were political contributions meant to finance election campaigns to the Jerusalem Municipality and Knesset parliament, according to the report. He said some of the funds were reimbursement of lodging expenses when he addressed public speaking events organized by Talansky.

The former prime minister also refuted claims by Talansky that he only agreed to receive funds in cash, saying that donations were also made with checks and bank transfers.

Olmert said allegations that the funds were not registered with the tax authorities were baseless.

"Talansky is saying things that are make-believe, they are nonsense," the Post quoted Olmert as saying.

The former prime minister is currently standing trial on other affairs tied to his name, including alleged double-billing of non- profit organizations for travel expenses during his tenure as Jerusalem mayor and later as minister in Ariel Sharon's government, and improper involvement in decisions at the Industry and Trade Ministry's Investment Center.

Source: Xinhua
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