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Court sentences former Israeli prime minister for breach of trust

By the CNN Wire Staff
September 24, 2012 -- Updated 1524 GMT (2324 HKT)
Ehud Olmert speaks to the press at the District Court in Jerusalem on July 10, 2012 after hearing the verdict in his corruption trial.
Ehud Olmert speaks to the press at the District Court in Jerusalem on July 10, 2012 after hearing the verdict in his corruption trial.
  • NEW: Ehud Olmert says he is "leaving the court with his head high"
  • Jerusalem District Court says the former prime minister must pay a fine
  • He was convicted of breach of trust and acquitted of two corruption charges
  • Allegations stemmed from 2002 to 2006, before he became prime minister

Jerusalem (CNN) -- A court fined former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and gave him a one-year suspended jail sentence Monday, more than two months after he was found guilty of breach of trust.

Olmert was ordered to pay a fine of 75,000 new Israeli shekels (about $19,000). As part of his sentencing by the Jerusalem District Court, he was also cleared to run for political office.

"I am entering this court with my head high, I am also leaving the court with my head high," Olmert said after the sentencing, according to his attorney, Eli Zohar.

Monday's suspended jail sentence means Olmert will not serve jail time unless he commits the same crime within a three-year period.

In a trial that ended in July, Olmert was found guilty of breach of trust but was acquitted on two corruption-related charges.

The allegations stemmed from 2002 to 2006, when Olmert served a second term as mayor of Jerusalem and held several Cabinet posts under then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

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Prosecutors accused Olmert of double-billing government agencies for travel, taking cash from an American businessman in exchange for official favors and acting on behalf of his former law partner's clients.

"The court decided that I breached trust. I honor the decision of the court, and will learn the lessons from this," Olmert said outside the courtroom in July. "I want to remind you that the court said that there were procedural problems -- not corruption, I never got anything. I acted in a way which was counter to procedure. I honor that, and take it to my heart."

At the time, he said nothing about his political future and thanked his lawyers for their work.

Olmert became prime minister in 2006 after succeeding Sharon, who suffered a massive stroke. He announced his resignation in August 2008 after Israeli police recommended that he stand trial.

He left office after a new government took power in March 2009.

Earlier this year, Olmert told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that millions of dollars from the "extreme right wing" in the United States helped oust him from government and derailed a peace plan with the Palestinians.

In 2008, Olmert sought a "full comprehensive peace between us and the Palestinians" -- a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. But the plan was never realized, and Olmert was forced from office, accused of corruption. He denied the allegations.

"I had to fight against superior powers, including millions and millions of dollars that were transferred from this country (the United States) by figures which were from the extreme right wing that were aimed to topple me as prime minister of Israel. There is no question about it," he told CNN.

Pressed to name names, Olmert replied: "Next time."

CNN's Michael Schwartz, Sara Sidner and Amnon Pery contributed to this report.

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