Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert leaves prison Sunday after being granted parole.

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Ehud Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003

He later served as Prime Minister

CNN  — 

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was freed from prison Sunday after serving 16 months on corruption charges, authorities said.

Olmert was initially sentenced to 27 months, but was released early after serving about two-thirds of his sentence.

The former leader was imprisoned for taking cash from an American businessman and also getting bribes related to a controversial Jerusalem housing project while he was mayor.

Police said Olmert received the money from 1993 through 2006, during his tenure as Jerusalem’s mayor and while holding ministerial positions under former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. He took over as prime minister in 2006 after a stroke incapacitated Sharon.

Two years later, he resigned amid a corruption scandal, and was charged and imprisoned last year.

Israeli Prison Service spokesman Assaf Librati confirmed his release.

Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem from 1993 to 2003. He served as prime minister from 2006 to 2009.

Cash-filled envelopes

The latest case involves American businessman Morris Talansky.

“I only know that he loved expensive cigars. I know he loved pens, watches. I found it strange,” Talansky testified in 2009. He said he Olmert $150,000 in loans and direct payments over 14 or 15 years.

Talansky provided colorful testimony, describing how he would go to hotels and give cash-filled envelopes to Olmert.

He also told how he picked up Olmert’s $4,700 hotel bill at the Ritz-Carlton in Washington. “He was the guest of my credit card,” Talansky said.

In another instance, Olmert asked for a $15,000 loan, and Talansky said he would like to see the money returned as soon as possible.

“Famous last words,” said Talansky, explaining that he hadn’t been repaid.

Holyland case

Also under appeal is the six-year sentence Olmert received last year on the bribery case, known as the Holyland case.

Olmert was also fined 1 million shekels (about $289,000), Israeli state radio IB reported.

Olmert was one of 16 suspects charged in the Holyland corruption case, which involved developers who allegedly paid bribes to senior Jerusalem municipal officials in exchange for expedited approval of permits for the construction project.

CNN’s Amir Tal contributed to this report