The Israeli Supreme Court on Tuesday has reduced hte sentence of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to from six years to 18 months, for bribery scandal.
According to the AP, the court announced Olmert will begin serving his sentence on Feb. 15 — the first Israeli leader to ever serve behind bars. Though the ruling marked a legal victory for Olmert’s team, the top court upheld part of his conviction for taking a lesser bribe.
Olmert, 70, was convicted in March 2014 and sentenced to six years in a wide-ranging case that accused him of accepting bribes to promote a controversial real-estate project in Jerusalem. He was charged for acts that happened while he was mayor of Jerusalem and the country’s trade minister, years before he became prime minister in 2006, AP added.
Olmert has denied any wrongdoing and was allowed to stay out of prison until the verdict on his appeal was delivered.
After Tuesday’s verdict was handed down, Olmert said he was “satisfied” about his partial exoneration. He added it was still a “hard day” but he said he accepted the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“A stone has been lifted from my heart,” he said. “I said in the past, I was never offered and I never took a bribe. And I say that again today.”
The ruling marks a dramatic climax for a man who only years earlier led the country and hoped to bring about a historic peace agreement with the Palestinians.
Olmert was forced to resign in early 2009 amid the corruption allegations. His departure cleared the way for the election of hard-liner Benjamin Netanyahu, and subsequent Mideast peace efforts have failed.