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Israeli police to quizz Olmert next week-officials | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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JERUSALEM, (Reuters) – Israeli police plan to question Prime Minister Ehud Olmert next week as part of an investigation that could force the Israeli leader out of office, officials said on Friday.

A government official said Olmert’s office has agreed to allot two hours for the Aug. 2 session, less time than police had requested.

It would be the fourth round of questioning in a case probing allegations Olmert took bribes from an American businessman and whether he made duplicate claims for travel expenses.

The political turmoil could derail U.S.-backed peace talks between Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Olmert’s lawyers this week wrapped up five days of cross-examination of American fund raiser Morris Talansky who has alleged that he gave the Israeli leader cash-filled envelopes. Talansky’s cross-examination will resume on Aug 31 and Sept 1.

Olmert has denied any wrongdoing and said he will resign if charged.

The prime minister has faced a handful of inquiries recently into his past financial affairs as mayor of Jerusalem for 10 years until 2003 and subsequently as a cabinet minister until he succeeded the ailing Ariel Sharon as premier in early 2006.