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Israeli Police Raid Government Offices in Probe of Prime Minister Olmert

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Israeli police have raided more than 20
government buildings and private offices, in a series of criminal
investigations of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

The probes are all related to actions that took place before
Olmert became prime minister.

Officials in Olmert's office have declined comment on the raids.
But Olmert has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.

In one case, Olmert is suspected of buying a luxurious Jerusalem
home at a substantial discount from a developer in exchange for
arranging construction permits. Olmert is a former mayor of
Jerusalem.

Police are also looking into allegations that Olmert acted
improperly when he was trade and finance minister. Authorities
suspect Olmert of steering a government grant to a friend and of
trying- unsuccessfully-to rig the sale of an Israeli bank in
favor of two associates.

A criminal indictment could deal a heavy blow to the peace
efforts. Olmert would not be forced to step down, but he would
likely face heavy public pressure to do so.


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