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Israeli police widen Olmert probe

  • Story Highlights
  • Police investigating claims against Israeli PM say they have widened their probe
  • Investigators say Ehud Olmert pocketed money from expense claims
  • Olmert has denied all wrongdoing; given no response to latest allegations
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli investigators say they suspect Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asked multiple public organizations to cover single expense claims and pocketed the extra money when he was Jerusalem mayor and a government minister.

Israeli police and the Justice Ministry released a statement Friday saying they suspect Olmert received funding for trips "from a number of bodies that engage in public activity at the same time, including the state, when each body was asked separately to finance the same flight," and that "significant sums" ended up in a private account for Olmert.

The allegations are part of an ongoing corruption probe, the latest in a series of investigations focusing on Olmert. While corruption allegations have damaged his political support, he has never been convicted of wrongdoing.

Olmert had no immediate response to Friday's statement, but has repeatedly denied any corruption.

Investigators interrogated Olmert again Friday, and included the latest allegations, according to the statement from police and the justice ministry.

The statement did not give an amount of money allegedly involved in the scheme.

"The travel agency that provided services to him in his trips produced and sent to each of the different public bodies and organizations that funded the flights separate invoices on their names for the same flights, as if they alone funded the flight described in the invoice," the statement said, laying out what investigators suspect.

"In this way, the total sum of the funds received from the different bodies for the same trip surpassed the actual expense for the flights, and the remaining funds, of significant sums, which were ostensibly received fraudulently, were conveyed to a special private account on the name of Olmert, which the travel agency ran for him."

Olmert served as Jerusalem mayor from 1993 to 2003 and served in several ministerial capacities -- including as minister of trade, labor and industry -- from 2003 to 2006 before taking over as prime minister.

All About IsraelEhud OlmertAriel Sharon

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