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Sunday, February 19, 2006 

Ehud Olmert's connections with pre-liquidation scam

There's more news that's come in about Ehud Olmert's own corrupt activities. From Israel National News (and for those who can read Hebrew, here's also the report from NFC which first broke the news):
Ehud Olmert and corruption: Investigative reporter Yoav Yitzchak reports that Olmert, using fictitious arbitration, enabled the dishonest extraction of 5 million shekels from a failing soccer team.

Yitzchak [pictured], reporting on the Hebrew investigative news-site NFC he edits, reveals that Olmert "lent his hand to grave crimes that were committed, including stealing money from creditors, among them the Income Tax authorities, Bank Leumi, players on the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team such as Ronen Harazi, and others."

Yitzchak writes that the above information is known to "some elements, but they have hesitated to take legal measures against Olmert. In addition, some media outlets that have received this information chose to remain silent."

Olmert's role as arbitrator in the Beitar Jerusalem matter in the year 2000 is well-known, Yitzchak writes, but the scoop lies in the fact that the arbitration was fictitious, and in the revelation of Olmert's role in this fiction.

Yitzchak acknowledges that the case is "complex" and requires further investigation. "The decision to open such an investigation is in the hands of Attorney General Menachem Mazuz," Yitzchak writes today, "and in light of Olmert's role as Acting Prime Minister, Mazuz will have to consider the issue with sensitivity but with all due haste."

The essential accusation is that Olmert participated in a procedure that allowed a creditor and a debtor to cooperate on the payment of a debt, part of which may not even have been genuine, at the expense of other creditors.

The story began in 1999, when the Beitar soccer team, encountering financial difficulties, sold off its properties in the Bayit Vegan neighborhood of Jerusalem in order to pay off its creditors.

The property was sold for 27 million shekels. However, Moshe Dadash, the man who essentially ran the team for many years, soon withdrew 5.2 million shekels of the money into his own account. Dadash later claimed that running the team voluntarily had cost him much money over the years, for which he was never reimbursed. He provided no receipts, however. He also claimed a prior debt of $180,000 that had swollen to $540,000.

Olmert, the Mayor of Jerusalem at the time, was asked to be the arbitrator of an agreement between Dadash and the team. The sides arrived for one meeting, at which Olmert asked them to go outside and come up with a compromise. The agreement they quickly came up with was that the money already taken by Dadash would suffice to cover the alleged debts. Olmert signed, and the matter was considered closed.

However, Yitzchak accuses, Olmert never asked to see a 'power of attorney' empowering any of the participants to represent the company in this matter. In addition, the same lawyer represented both Dadash and the team. Finally, Yitzchak maintains, a lawyer involved in the liquidation of Beitar confirmed to him that the arbitration was merely carried out to legitimize a shady deal and to retroactively authorize the taking of money that could have been used to pay off other creditors.
Read the rest.

This is very serious. Olmert, along with the so-called team manager Dadash, was trying to damage one of Israel's most honest and devoted soccer teams, that's done a lot for its country. It's a real shame that the team's had to contend with such a dishonest manager, and Olmert certainly didn't make things any better with what he did.

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