Olmert says he's 'an innocent man'

Sept. 25, 2009 at 10:10 AM
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JERUSALEM, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he would prove his innocence at a Jerusalem District court where he faces several charges.

"Now is the time for facts, and only facts. I have come here as an innocent man and I believe I will come out of here an innocent man," Olmert said in a Ynetnews.com report.

A hearing for Olmert Friday was mainly procedural and the court judge said a trial would begin in February next year, The Jerusalem Post said.

Olmert was indicted for fraudulent receipt of goods, false registration of corporate documents, fraud, breach of trust, tax and tax evasion on three different issues.

He allegedly double-billied charities and a government ministry for the same flights he booked through Rishon Tours, and sent falsified receipts for travel expenses and used the surplus to finance personal and family trips abroad, Haaretz said.

The former prime minister is also suspected of having illegally received hundreds of thousands of dollars from Jewish American businessman Morris Talansky, Haaretz said.

It is the first time in the history of the state a former prime minister faces such serious charges, Maariv said.

The facts and legal claims can be cleared up," the Post quoted him as saying.

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