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Olmert gets report on corruption probe
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2007-02-06 10:52

Israel's state comptroller, a government watchdog, said Sunday it had given a draft report to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on an investigation into complaints he purchased a house in a historical Jerusalem neighborhood for below market value.


Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert arrives to the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem Sunday, Feb. 4, 2007. [AP]


The case could develop into a criminal investigation.

Israeli officials said the focus of the investigation is the finding that Olmert paid $325,000 less than the market value, leading to suspicions of fraud and bribery. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the draft report cannot be made public.

The comptroller's statement said only that the office investigated complaints about the purchase of the house in Jerusalem. The draft was also given to Jerusalem city officials, who were asked to respond by the end of the month.

If Olmert were indicted, he would have to resign. But such a development would be many steps down the road.

Olmert has been dogged by corruption allegations throughout his long political career but has never been convicted. He has denied any wrongdoing in the Jerusalem deal.

Last week, a former member of his Cabinet, Haim Ramon, was found guilty of sexual misconduct for forcibly kissing a female soldier. Also, Israel's president, Moshe Katsav, is facing possible rape and sexual harassment charges.

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