The bribery and fraud cases involving former Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert have most lately led to the arrest of his one-time bureau head.
Known as a trusted aide to the former prime minister, Shula Zaken was arrested on Monday at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport upon her return from a visit to the United States, AFP reported on Monday. She was then taken away for questioning.
Zaken is, among other things, accused of having mediated the transfer of bribe money to Olmert, the Israeli daily Jerusalem Post reported.
She is also to be questioned on her alleged involvement in the so-called Holyland real estate project in Jerusalem (al-Quds), said Israeli news website Ynet. The highly-controversial project was begun during Olmert’s decade-long tenure as mayor of al-Quds.
Olmert’s former lawyer and business associate, Uri Messer, was among the six arrested earlier this month in connection with the scandal.
Olmert is accused of taking almost USD 1 million in bribes while serving as minister of trade and industry back in 2003. He has also been charged with accepting kickbacks from US businessman Morris Talansky during his ministerial period.
The former prime minister could be handed a jail term of a yet unspecified period if convicted. The already long-running case, however, is estimated to last for years.
Indicted on a number of corruption charges, embattled Olmert announced his resignation in September 2008 amid deepening allegations of graft.
He eventually left office in March 2009 when he handed over the reins of power to his successor, Benjamin Netanyahu.