Remember Mr. Olmert? He's back in the news in a really big big way…
Ehud Olmert was a member of the Israeli Knesset, then became Jerusalem's mayor for two terms after the legendary Teddy Kollek. He then became Ariel Sharon's right hand man in the forming of Israel's new political Kadema party, and found himself the Prime Minister of the country after Mr. Sharon fell ill and subsequently into a comatose state.
Mr. Olmert then began to fall from grace as dealing after dealing surfaced that indicated that public trust was broken, cronyism and bribes rampant, and under the table back alley deals were made with his involvement.
None of the charges ever really stuck as his lawyers were able to maneuver around the charges.
Then came an informant that once cooperated in money laundering with Olmert but then turned on him as an informant and Olmert, in the wake of the handling of the conflict with Hezbollah, was forced to resign.
Since that time he has been traveling and preparing his defense for the courts.
Now he's got real issues because yesterday his long time confidant, attorney Uri Messer, and five additional suspects have been arrested on suspicion of involvement in a severe corruption affair.
The court said that this is one of the worst-ever corruption cases the country has ever known. One comment was that it “stinks from the head”.
What's involved here is a development, considered Jerusalem's ugliest building project, and how it was approved. There allegedly was what is being described as “mega-corruption” on every level – from Olmert to project managers, city councilman to municipal inspectors and planning engineers – and the list is growing.
Former PM Olmert, who is currently abroad has delayed his return to Israel – allegedly fearing arrest at the airport. He did however say later that he will return next week. His lawyer has said the whole affair will end without anything.
Middle East Correspondent