Middle East

Ex-Israeli PM Olmert should face fresh charges - police

Ehud Olmert 2006
Image caption A string of corruption scandals played a major part in Ehud Olmert's 2008 decision to resign

Israeli police have recommended that former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stand trial on corruption charges over his alleged role in a real estate scandal.

Mr Olmert is accused of fraud and taking bribes to promote a building project, known as the Holyland affair.

The scandal dates back to his time as Jerusalem mayor more than a decade ago.

Mr Olmert, who is already on trial in another corruption case, denies any wrongdoing. His spokesman has dismissed the allegations as "baseless".

Police have said that bribes were given to officials over the development of a giant hotel and apartment building.

City planning laws were changed to allow the developers of the building, known as the Holyland complex, to allow apartments to be built as well as hotels.

The number of apartments in the development was also increased, police say.

Mr Olmert has called the investigation a "witch hunt", and denied taking any kind of bribe.

Mr Olmert was plagued by multiple corruption scandals while serving as prime minister between 2006 and 2009 - and has so far been indicted over three separate cases. Police have closed two others.

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