Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Bypassing the Gag-order; Olmert Scandal #237


The iron-clad, gag-order against the on-going investigation of Israel's PM Ehud Olmert is showing signs of rusting away.

Two leading newspapers in Israel have already broken the order and have printed some of the details surrounding the investigation.

However!

Since this blog is hosted on a US server via Google, I will now break the gag-order and show you the many as yet unpublished details of the investigation (which have been confirmed as accurate by Israel Channel 2 Radio, Army Radio and others)...

Presenting; the investigation against PM Ehud Olmert, scandal 237...
NY Post: May 6, 2008 -- A Long Island mogul is at the center of a sensational bribery scandal that could bring down embattled Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, The Post has learned.

Millionaire financier Morris Talansky - who runs an investment firm out of his tony home in Woodmere - allegedly passed money to Olmert while the politician was mayor of Jerusalem in the '90s, sources said.

In a highly unusual move, Israeli authorities have barred the country's media from publishing Talansky's name - revealed now in The Post - saying it could hamper their investigation. Israeli media has referred only to the involvement of an "American businessman."

Talansky is apparently set to sing to Israeli authorities about his alleged role in the scheme, sources said.

"It looks serious, and it looks like they have a state witness" in Talansky, one source said.

Talansky - a philanthropist and political contributor to everyone from Rudy Giuliani to Bill Clinton - is in Jerusalem, where he has an apartment, preparing to head to a closed-door court hearing as early as today, sources said.

The 75-year-old was earlier questioned about the alleged scheme almost immediately after arriving in the country for Passover, and he implicated Olmert, sources have said.

It was unclear what the alleged payments to Olmert were for, but sources said they involved hefty amounts of cash.

Talansky repeatedly appears - sometimes under the nickname "The Laundry Man" - in the logs of financial dealings kept by Olmert's longtime aide, Shula Zakan, a source said.

Olmert was grilled by investigators Friday. He has vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

The allegations are only the latest in a string of woes for Olmert, who has battled past charges of government corruption and questionable personal business practices.

"But this time seems very serious, and it seems eventually, we don't know if it will be days, weeks or months, in the end, he may not be able to continue to be prime minister," one source said.

A man answering the phone at Talansky's multimillion-dollar mansion in Woodmere yesterday said, "He's not available."

Talansky lists himself as CEO of the Global Resources Group, a self-described financial-investment firm.

Additional reporting by Kieran Crowley
Let's see; More on Morris...The Huffington Post found that Morris gave $1000 to the Republican party and $0 to the Democrats.

The best take on this so far is from Olmert's people themselves; They claim the investigation and scandal emerged because of the doings of the "enemies of peace" (ie, rightwingers).

Just as Olmert was about to reach a "historic" deal with Syria and the Palestinians, someone has to go ahead and dredge up these silly claims and petty crimes. Currently on YNET in Hebrew...will get it in English soon.

Developing story/scandal.



Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

13 comments:

Rafi G said...

you beat me to it by about a minute

Rowan Berkeley said...

I wouldn't have got to it without you, and I managed to get a boiled down version of the NYP story onto my own blog by about fifteen minues after Rafi G posted his comment above. Interesting type of blog you have here, I shall explore it at more length.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Rowan: Come back more often! :)

Shmilda said...

Correction:

Check this listing of Morris Talansky's federal hard money donations - he's given to both Republicans and Democrats, all over the spectrum (in addition to Sha'are Zedek hospital: http://www.newsmeat.com/fec/bystate_detail.php?st=NY&last=TALANSKY&first=MORRIS

Commenter Abbi said...

Let me get this straight: Do "Israeli authorities" imagine we are still living in 1953 and that pple don't read the internet or read English for that matter? What a joke.

rockofgalilee said...

The police are saying, and the judges believe, that breaking the news blackout will hamper the investigation. If Olmert gets off on this one, will you accept some of the responsibility?

Jeremy said...

Jameel-

With all the corruption and scandals relating to so many figures in the government, I have a question to ask.

Have there been these types of scandals or investigations relating to politicians from the religious parties (not Shas of course)- Mafdal/ichud leumi or the Haredi parties?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Jeremy: Mafdal has had its share of corrupt politicians. Aguda had a scandal or two.

Ichud Leumi hasn't been around long enough :)

Anonymous said...

I hate to say this but to me if this is all he did I don't understand why this is being treated like such a severe case. So he accepted contributions that he didn't report?
Unless he slipped contribution money into his own pocket (like Hirshzon) which these reports do not say, I don't see why they are talking about this like its the crime of the century.

ProfK said...

I checked schmilda's link for Talansky's political donations--$30,500 across 17 years. That doesn't even make him a minor player in US politics. If his "contributions" to Olmert run along the same lines in terms of amount and are spread out over time, is this really going to be enough to bring Olmert down?

Shmilda said...

True, $30,500 over 17 years indicates someone who enjoys meeting politicians at fundraisers, rather than a major player. However, these numbers are only "hard money" - there may well have been much more in "soft money", bundled contributions, or other off the records contributions. I have no idea, but I would not be surprised.

Rowan Berkeley said...

I came back, Jameel, but this is a baffling day for the blog amateur. Now that Beirut is going up in flames, I am trying to figure out which side people are on. Some people who seem quite open minded at first, like Joshua Landis, who is an academic Syria-ologist with a lively blog, turn out to be 'soft cops,' so to say, really only interested in promoting a more liberal form of pro-US regime. The zionism I am groping for is not "pro-US" at all, but "post-US." You can probably see that from my blog.

Kamagra said...

I think that israel has a lot of problems with US, the first aspect that i would like to mention is that US has army in israel and do not permit to Israel do a lot of things.

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