Confident Olmert hopes to come out clean following "inhuman witch hunt"

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Jerusalem, Sep. 25 (ANI): Ehud Olmert who became the first Israeli prime minister to be prosecuted on criminal charges has said that he is certain to come out clean after an "inhuman witch hunt" that lasted almost three years.

"But the time has come for the facts and the facts only. I have arrived here as a completely innocent man, I hope to leave a completely innocent man," The Jerusalem Post quoted Olmert, as saying before entering the Jerusalem District Court.

He has been charged for-fraudulent receipt of goods, false registration of corporate documents, fraud, breach of trust, and tax evasion in the Rishon Tours scandal, the "cash envelopes" affair, and the "investment center" case.

On Thursday, Olmert told BBC that he had full confidence that he would be proven innocent.

"I am innocent. I look at some of my colleagues, my former colleagues in different Western countries in Europe. They were charged with similar accusations and in the end, nothing happened. And I am absolutely certain that this will be the outcome of this particular case," he said.

When asked whether he had wrestled with the prospect of ending up in prison, he said: "Ah, I laugh," and added that in his mind there was absolutely no possibility that could happen.

The charge sheet against him, which also cites Olmert's close aide-- Shula Zaken, covers four separate investigations - the Rishon Tours affair; Olmert's relations with his close friend, attorney Uri Messer, and US financial backer Moshe Talansky; his alleged deceptions of the State Comptroller's Office; and Zaken's alleged wiretapping of Olmert's conversations.

The 60-page indictment alleges that Olmert charged the state and donors more than the flight tickets cost during the 17 trips he took from 2002 to 2005. The indictment states that Olmert also double-billed for hotel and transfer costs. (ANI)

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