The State Prosecutor’s Office has decided not to open a criminal investigation against former prime minister Ehud Olmert over an alleged leak of classified information.
The announcement comes some six months after the prosecution police to investigate whether Olmert had committed a criminal offense while incarcerated at Maasiyahu Prison in Ramle while serving a 27-month sentence for bribery and corruption.
The investigation centered around the former prime minister’s autobiography, which he worked on while in jail and apparently touches on sensitive security issues.
One of Olmert’s attorneys was apprehended with a chapter of the book dealing with a top secret security-related incident that the censor has banned in the past for publication. Olmert was prime minister when Israel attacked a nuclear facility at Deir ez-Zor in Syria in 2007.
At the time, the prosecution said police would investigate whether Olmert transferred classified information to unauthorized parties. Olmert was warned by the prosecution on several occasions that the leak of classified information could cause serious damage to state security, however his attorneys rejected the charges, saying the book had been submitted in its entirety to the censor.
Olmert was released from jail in July shortly after the charges surfaced with the parole board reducing his sentence by third for good behavior.
In December of 2015, the Supreme Court reduced Olmert’s original sentence from six years in jail to a year and a half. He was convicted on several counts of bribery in a number of different cases but was acquitted of the main charge. His jail term began in February of 2016.
At the time, the decision was reached by a panel of five Supreme Court judges in a majority vote. More than a year and a half had passed since the Tel Aviv District Court sentenced Olmert to six years imprisonment in May, 2014.
Olmert served as Prime Minister of Israel between 2006 and 2009 following a long political career as a lawmaker and as Mayor of Jerusalem. He did not run for re-election in 2009 following corruption accusations and was succeeded by Benjamin Netanyahu.
Olmert was first charged in 2009 with fraud, bribery, tax evasion, and breach of trust in a number of different corruption cases. He was convicted of breach of trust in 2012 and of bribery two years later and was sentenced to six years in prison.
“I repeat what I said in the past. I was neither offered nor did I receive bribes. I respect the court’s decision,” added Olmert. “This difficult moment is an opportunity to thank my family, my children, my grandchildren and my lawyers for staying with me all the way, and also the general public which supported me.”
Seven other defendants were also sentenced along with Olmert, including former Mayor of Jerusalem Uri Lupolianski whose appeal was rejected.