Former PM Olmert, imprisoned for corruption, granted early release

Olmert will go home on Sunday after serving two thirds of his term. He was serving time  for bribery and obstruction of justice.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

Israel’s former Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, who is serving a 27-month prison sentence in Ma’aisyahu Prison for bribery and obstruction of justice, was released by the parole board of Israel’s Prison Service on Thursday and will go home on Sunday, after serving 16 months of his term.

The State Attorney’s Office asked the court to delay implementing the decision to release Olmert, but it is unclear where they intend to take the case.

Olmert became the first Israeli premier to be imprisoned after a years-long legal saga relating to five corruption cases that forced him to resign in 2009, while serving as Israel’s leader.

Olmert, 71, was convicted in March 2014 in a wide-ranging case that accused him of accepting bribes to promote a controversial real-estate project in Jerusalem. The charges pertained to a period when he was mayor of Jerusalem and trade minister, years before he became prime minister in 2006.

Later in September 2016, Olmert was convicted of unlawfully receiving funds for private use from American Jewish businessman Morris Talansky.

He was initially sentenced to six years in the case, but Israel’s Supreme Court later upheld a lesser charge, reducing the sentence to 18 months. That was later extended by a month for his obstruction of justice by pressuring a confidant not to testify in multiple legal cases against him. He then received another eight months for the Talansky affair.

Olmert may still face yet another legal entanglement following another police investigation after his lawyer was caught leaving the prison with a chapter of his unpublished book that contained “sensitive security issues.”

Last week, Olmert was rushed to the hospital after complaining of chest pains. He was released after a week of hospitalization.