Friday, May 9, 2008

Israeli leader denies taking illicit donations from American

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert denied fresh accusations that he illegally accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from a U.S. citizen, but said Thursday night that he will step down if he is indicted.

The latest investigation into corruption allegations involving Olmert has distracted Israel for nearly a week and has the potential to derail delicate peace talks with the Palestinians.

Olmert made his statement in a nationally televised speech from his official residence after a court lifted a gag order in the case. According to police suspicions, Olmert took hundreds of thousands of dollars in illicit contributions from Jewish businessman Morris "Moshe" Talansky.

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