Israeli PM Olmert denies taking bribes

Ehud Olmert, Israel's prime minister, has admitted he accepted campaign donations from an American businessman, but denied that the contributions constituted bribes.

Israeli PM Olmert denies taking bribes
In a televised statement on Thursday night from his residence in Jerusalem, Olmert said he would resign only if he were indicted by Israel's attorney general.

Olmert said he believed the crisis over a police investigation into allegations he accepted money from Morris Talansky, a US financier, would soon end.

He said a lawyer handled his finances and that everything had been done legally.

He said: "I never took bribes, I never took a penny for myself. I was elected by you to be prime minister of Israel and I am not shying away from that responsibility."

Olmert confirmed he would not fight to stay in office if he is charged.

"If I am indicted, I will resign my post," he said.

Olmert's statement came after police lifted a media gag order that had prevented the Israeli media from reporting on the investigation, and announced details of the accusations.

The investigation has increased pressure on Olmert to quit, and doubt over his future is likely to disrupt faltering peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Agencies

Last Mod: 09 Mayıs 2008, 14:38
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