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Former Israel PM convicted in second cash bribes case

Ehud Olmert already facing six years for accepting $160,000 in cash bribes

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is seen in Jerusalem District Court March 3REUTERS/Abir Sultan/Pool

Reuters –Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, already facing a six-year prison term after a corruption conviction, was found guilty on Monday in a separate case of accepting illegal payments from a U.S. businessman.

The ruling in Jerusalem District Court reversed a 2012 acquittal of the veteran politician, who led Israel from 2006 to 2009.

Last May, Olmert was sentenced in other proceedings to six years in jail for accepting $160,000 in bribes linked to a real estate deal in Jerusalem, when he served as the city's mayor. He is currently appealing that conviction in the Supreme Court.

The district court found that Olmert accepted cash-filled envelopes from an American businessman who hoped to further his interests in Israel. It convicted him of fraud and breach of trust on the basis of new testimony from a former aide who had accepted a plea bargain.

Facing corruption allegations, Olmert announced his resignation as prime minister in 2008, cutting short his pursuit of a peace deal with the Palestinians, and stayed on until a new government was in place after a 2009 election.

He has denied any wrongdoing in both cases, and his lawyers said they were considering appealing Monday's ruling.

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