Israeli court clears ex-PM Olmert of major charges
Tue, 10 Jul 2012 6:58p.m.
An Israeli court on Tuesday cleared former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of the major charges in a corruption trial that forced him from power.
Olmert was found guilty of a lesser offense, and it was not clear whether that verdict could send him to jail. If that crime, breach of trust, does carry a prison term, he would become the first Israeli prime minister to serve time.
Olmert, 66, appeared claim and relieved as the verdict was delivered in the Jerusalem court.
The verdict, which capped a two-year trial, covered three separate allegations: illegally accepting funds from an American supporter, double-billing Jewish groups for trips abroad and channelling state grants to companies linked to a close friend.
The charges were filed after he became prime minister in 2006, but stemmed back to his time as mayor of Jerusalem and later as a Cabinet minister. After he was indicted in 2008, he stepped aside, and his Kadima Party lost power in the February 2009 elections that brought Benjamin Netanyahu into office.
Olmert's legal troubles are far from over. He is still facing trial in a bribery scandal surrounding a controversial Jerusalem real estate project. That case is expected to take at least another year.
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