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Will Olmert wriggle out of Talansky too?

JERUSALEM — During his interrogations by police, Morris Talansky got mixed up between two amounts of money he allegedly gave Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

One was a loan of $25,000 to Olmert for a family trip to Italy and Greece in September, 2004. The other was a $72,500 gift in December, 2003 that Olmert told Talansky was meant to cover campaign debts.

Until set straight by the police, Talansky thought he had withdrawn $68,000 to give Olmert the loan.

If that were so, he was asked, what had he done with the balance of the money?

Talansky said he had given some of it to Olmert, some to his children and had taken the rest back to the US.

  • Regarding the $68,000, Talansky said he had taken $30,000 back to the US. He explained that according to American law, he had had to fill out forms and declare that he was bringing that sum of money into the US.

Eventually, the police explained to him that the $68,000 had been withdrawn in December, 2003, not September, 2004, and was used to give Olmert the $72,000 he had asked for to cover his campaign expenses.

The story Talansky told police about the declaration to US customs that he was bringing back $30,000 was a pure fabrication.

  • Talansky said he had brought two checks of $35,000 each to Israel with him and deposited them in his bank in Jerusalem. He had then withdrawn the $68,000 in cash and given the money along with another $4,500 to Olmert for the campaign contribution.

It turned out, however, that the two checks had been deposited by his son one week before Talansky arrived in Israel on December 22, 2003. Talansky had forgotten what had happened.

  • After realizing that the $68,000 had gone to Olmert, allegedly to cover his campaign debts, Talansky told police, and testified in court on May 27, that he had withdrawn $25,000 from his Jerusalem bank account to give Olmert the money he had requested as a loan for his vacation.

However, there is no record of a withdrawal of $25,000 from Talansky’s Jerusalem bank around the time of Olmert’s trip in late September, 2004, or at any other time in the proximity to the trip.

  • Talansky told the police on various occasions, even within the same day’s testimony, that he had given different sums of money to Olmert for the trip.

At one time or another, he mentioned sums of $10,000, $15,000, $20,000 and $30,000 as well as $25,000.

  • In an early interrogation, Talansky strongly denied giving Olmert $72,500 in one cash payment and told police he had never given such a large sum of money in one lump sum.

However, his bank statement showed he had withdrawn $68,000 in cash on December 23, 2003, and the computer records of Olmert’s aide, Shula Zaken, showed that he had given her $72,500 on December 24, 2003.

Talansky then remembered that Olmert had asked him for $72,500 to help cover campaign debts.

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