Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Israel's Prime Minister Told to Resign

Will he or won't he? The corruption charges do look pretty bad. But remember, it's not even clear if Olmert broke Israeli law.

Israel's defense minister, Ehud Barak, has called on the nation's prime minister, Ehud Olmert, to step down.

More from McClatchy after the jump...

A breakdown of what Olmert is faced with:

He railed against his Israeli interrogators, lectured the judges on American democracy and wept with frustration over his unwelcome role as a pivotal figure in an unfolding corruption investigation that could bring a premature end to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's political career.

By the time he was done testifying on Tuesday at a special court hearing, American businessman Morris Talansky had painted an unflattering portrait of Olmert as a manipulative figure whose taste for luxury had overwhelmed his potential to become one of Israel's legendary leaders.

In a rare public deposition before a three-court judge, Talansky told Israeli prosecutors that he gave Olmert tens of thousands of dollars in cash, checks and loans to finance overseas trips, upscale New York hotel rooms and struggling political campaigns.

Talansky said he was "very, very uneasy" about the large amounts of cash he gave Olmert over the years, but he trusted a politician he revered as one of Israel's potential saviors.

"Cash disturbed me," Talansky said. "I couldn't understand it, and I accepted the answer simply because I saw something bigger, hopefully, out there."

Talansky estimated that he'd given Olmert $150,000 in cash, checks and loans over 15 years. To date, he said, Olmert hasn't repaid the loans.

No comments: