Long Island businessman Morris Talansky will not accept a U.S. Justice Department offer of partial immunity in return for his testimony in the bribe-receiving probe of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, according to his Manhattan lawyer.
"The offer doesn’t protect Mr. Talansky because they could still use what he says in order to get leads [against him]," said Brad Simon, Talansky’s lawyer.
"That is what happened after he testified [against Olmert] last summer – the FBI issued subpoenas, and a grand jury investigation was opened based on his testimony in Israel," said Simon, whom Talansky hired after the FBI probe began.
Israeli prosecutors are anxious to complete their investigation into allegations that Talansky gave Olmert about $150,000 in the early 1990s – before Olmert became prime minister in 2006 — and met with Simon Wednesday for several hours. The meeting took place in the offices of Jerusalem District Attorney Eli Abarbanel.
Talansky testified last May that he gave Olmert envelopes stuffed with cash and that he understood the money was for Olmert’s political campaigns.
Olmert has acknowledged accepting campaign contributions from Talansky but denied any wrongdoing.
He announced his resignation as prime minister in September, but has continued to serve pending the formation of a new government. Israeli elections are on Tuesday.
Simon said his meeting in Jerusalem was to "try to resolve the problem in a way that both enables Mr. Talansky to come back and complete his testimony in Israel and, at the same time, figure out a way to ensure that the testimony does not put him in further harm’s way in the United States.
U.S. prosecutors are reportedly seeking to determine whether Talansky could be charged with bribing a government official, money laundering and tax evasion.