We’ve been frequently making the case that corruption is about more than just bribes — it’s the sweetheart contracts to military suppliers; it’s campaign finance systems that allow unlimited or undisclosed donations; it’s public misinformation through complacent media. We take this moment to observe that corruption is also about big envelopes fat with cash.
A US businessman has testified he gave envelopes full of cash to Israel’s prime minister but said he did not seek or receive any favours in return. Morris Talansky told an Israeli court he did not know how the money was spent, but linked it to Ehud Olmert’s “love” of “expensive” luxury goods.
Talansky says it was just a gift, not a bribe. I’d point out that my love for expensive luxury goods has not resulted in anyone giving me much of anything.
Olmert’s take may have hit US$500,000, according to the BBC. It’s not a new story — this marks the current Israeli Prime Minister’s fifth investigation — but galling nonetheless. Global Integrity’s Yossi Melman covered Olmert’s much loved pen collection back in 2006.