Former Israel PM Ehud Olmert sentenced to 8 months in prison

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been sentenced to eight months in prison for taking cash from an American businessman.

He was also fined $25,700.

Police said Olmert received the money from 1993 through 2006, during his tenure as Jerusalem’s mayor and while holding ministerial positions under former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He took over as prime minister in 2006 after a stroke incapacitated Sharon.

The new sentence is in addition to the six years in prison Olmert is already facing for taking bribes related to a controversial Jerusalem housing project — also while he was mayor.

Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003. He served as prime minister from 2006 to 2009.

The latest case involves American businessman Morris Talansky.

Talansky told prosecutors he donated or loaned thousands of dollars to Olmert for political reasons, but they also appeared to pay for luxury expenses.

“I only know that he loved expensive cigars. I know he loved pens, watches. I found it strange,” Talansky testified in 2009. He said he Olmert $150,000 in loans and direct payments over 14 or 15 years.

Talansky provided colorful testimony, describing how he would go to hotels and give cash-filled envelopes to Olmert.

He also told how he picked up Olmert’s $4,700 hotel bill at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington. “He was the guest of my credit card,” Talansky said.

In another instance, Olmert asked for a $15,000 loan, and Talansky said he would like to see the money returned as soon as possible.

“Famous last words,” said Talansky, explaining that he hadn’t been repaid.

Olmert’s lawyers on Monday asked for a 45-day delay before the sentence is carried out. They are expected to appeal the sentence to the Supreme Court.

Also under appeal is the six-year sentence Olmert received last year on the bribery case, known as the Holyland case.

In March 2014, Olmert was convicted of receiving about $161,000 in bribes related to the housing project.

The developer of Holyland, Hillel Cherney, had been previously convicted of bribing Olmert and other high-level officials in exchange for Holyland approvals.

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