Olmert free to run for office after escaping prison term
The former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been handed a one-year suspended prison sentence and fined for his role in a corruption case that forced him from office – a relatively light punishment that could clear the way for a political comeback.
Olmert, 66, who had faced the possibility of jail time or community service, was ordered only to pay an $18,000 fine. By avoiding the stiffer penalties, the former leader is now eligible to run for parliament, though he remains barred from serving in a Cabinet post while he faces another corruption trial.
He has not said whether he wants to seek office again, but confidants say Olmert is certainly considering it. In the coming months, he will remain preoccupied with a separate trial for his alleged role in a Jerusalem real estate bribery case. Nonetheless, yesterday's sentencing was a clear victory for the former premier. "I walk out of here with my head held high," he told reporters.
Olmert was forced out of office nearly four years ago under the cloud of scandal, accused of accepting cash-stuffed envelopes from an American political supporter and allegedly double billing supporters for overseas trips. But in July, the court cleared him of those serious allegations, convicting him only on the lesser charge of breach of trust for helping allocate government contracts to a friend's associates.
In his decision yesterday, the Jerusalem court judge told Olmert: "It was a very clear conflict of interest. It was a breach of trust, and we must relate to it in the harshest of terms."
But afterward, with it clear he had avoided a harsher sentence, Olmert smiled and embraced his lawyers.
That's some guestlist! Stunning images show huge dynastic wedding between Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families which attracted 25,000 guests
'He was always smiling': Lee Rigby named as Woolwich victim
'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
Exclusive: Woolwich suspect Michael Adebolajo was inspired by cleric banned from UK after urging followers to behead enemies of Islam
Seeing the larger picture: Inspiring images of space
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 2 'He was always smiling': Lee Rigby named as Woolwich victim
- 3 'Sickening, deluded and unforgivable': Horrific attack brings terror to London’s streets
- 4 'Something passed underneath us, quite close': Airbus A320 has close encounter with UFO
- 5 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.