Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was found guilty of corruption charges on Monday for accepting bribes from a U.S. businessman, local media reports said. The 69-year-old, who is also facing a six-year prison sentence in a different bribery case, is scheduled to be sentenced on May 5.
Olmert was reportedly found guilty on charges of fraud and breach of trust, in a retrial for accepting about $600,000 from Morris Talansky, co-founder of the New Jerusalem Foundation with Olmert, when the former was Jerusalem's mayor and a Cabinet minister. In 2012, Olmert was acquitted of the charges but a retrial was ordered after recordings surfaced in which he reportedly refers to receiving money.
"In light of the new findings, we are changing the verdict," the judges reportedly said Monday.
In the recordings, Olmert is reportedly heard telling his confidant Shula Zaken not to testify against him in the first trial. A panel of judges at the Jerusalem District Court stated that Olmert gave Zaken part of the money in exchange for her loyalty, and ruled that Olmert was guilty of accepting the money. Olmert's lawyer, Eyal Rozovsky, said that his legal team was "of course very disappointed from the ruling" and would likely appeal it, the Associated Press reported.
The maximum sentence for fraud under aggravating circumstances is five years in prison, while the maximum penalty for breach of trust is three years, Haaretz reported. In March 2014, Olmert was convicted in another bribery trial but has been allowed to stay out of prison until a verdict is delivered in the case.