Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been sentenced to six years in prison and fined over £170,000 for taking bribes and fraudulent activities while he was mayor of Jerusalem.
This is the first time in Israeli history that a former prime minister has received jail time.
Olmert was convicted at the end of March on two charges of bribery by Tel Aviv Court Judge David Rosen for his role in the “Holyland” real estate project in Jerusalem.
In his summing up, Judge David Rosen described Olmert as a “traitor” for his actions.
“Those who give bribes are corrupt, but those who receive it inspire disgrace and cause the public to lose faith in the state,” he said. “A public servant who accepts bribes is equivalent to a traitor.”
Speaking in court, the former prime minister repeated his denial of the charges saying the initial conviction at the end of March was a “shock”.
“I knew [the conviction] was based on a fundamental mistake, which is just wrong," he said.
Olmert continued: “I am proud of the decade in which I ran Jerusalem. The right path is to appeal the decision and turn to the High Court. I never took any bribe, not directly and not indirectly, not for my affiliates and not for my family – that is the truth.”
It is thought that Olmert’s legal team will request a delay in the implementation of his prison sentence.