Last update - 10:12 18/08/2008
Israel Police: FBI decision to probe Talansky is no surprise
By Jonathan Lis, Haaretz Correspondent
The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) into the conduct of Jewish American businessman Morris Talansky, a key figure in the corruption probe currently underway against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, came as no surprise to Israel's police investigators.
Senior police officials said Sunday that it is customary for the FBI to become involved in Israeli investigations being conducted within the U.S.
Olmert is being investigated for allegations that he accepted illicit funds over many years from Talansky. In his preliminary deposition in Jerusalem on May 27, Talansky testified that he gave Olmert $150,000, mostly in cash, for political campaigns and travel expenses. He denied receiving anything in return for the cash, which was allegedly conveyed in envelopes through third parties.
Superintendents Tzachi Havkin and Lior Rice, who set out some two months ago to conduct parts of the investigation in the U.S., personally met with FBI representatives during their stay. The police have classified the investigators' activities in Washington, New York and Las Vegas as top secret, though most of the material they gathered has already been handed over to the prosecution and to Olmert's attorneys.