25 Sep 2012

Former Israeli PM spared jail in corruption case

10:16 am on 25 September 2012

An Israeli court has spared the former prime minister Ehud Olmert a prison term for breach of trust.

Mr Olmert was found guilty in July for approving projects that involved a long-time friend while he was a cabinet minister, but was acquitted of more serious bribery charges.

Jerusalem District Court gave him a suspended one-year jail sentence and 75,300-shekel fine.

The court also decided against defining the crime as one of moral turpitude - which might have prevented the 66-year-old centrist politician from returning to public office.

Mr Olmert was dogged by corruption scandals as he tried to forge a peace deal with the Palestinians, and resigned in 2008.

After his conviction Mr Olmert said he had no intention of re-entering politics.

The party he once led, Kadima, now heads the opposition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rightist Likud.

The next election is due in October 2013, though it could be brought forward over delays in passing the national budget.

Mr Olmert is still fighting a separate bribery case over his role, as Jerusalem mayor from 1993 to 2003, in a controversial housing project. He has denied all wrongdoing in that case.