|Former IsraeliPrime Minister Ehud Olmert (front) arrives for sentencing at theTel Aviv District Court, Israel, on May 13, 2014. Former IsraeliPrime Minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced to 6 years in prisonfollowing his conviction on bribery charges at the Tel AvivDistrict Court on Tuesday. (Xinhua/POOL/Finbarr O'Reilly)
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TEL AVIV, May 13 (Xinhua) -- Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was sentenced to 6 years in prison following his conviction on bribery charges at the Tel Aviv District Court on Tuesday.
Olmert was found guilty of accepting 560,000 shekels (160,000 U. S. dollars) from contractors while he was the mayor of Jerusalem ( between 1993 and 2003) in order to expedite proceedings of construction complexes including the Holyland residential complex in the city.
Eight other former officials and businessmen were also sentenced to various prison terms at the court on Tuesday in one of the gravest corruptions affair throughout the country's existence.
Olmert is the first former prime minister in Israel to be convicted of bribery and to be sentenced to prison. He will have 45 days to appeal the sentencing decision.
"The defendant had hurt the public trust and his actions are hurtful to the people's trust in their representatives. Graft charges severely damage the entire social structure," Judge David Rozen said at court.
"Bribery pollutes the civil service," Rozen said, adding that " the higher the rank of the official, the more severe his offenses. Harsh punishments are needed in order to remove the epidemic of corruption."
Olmert announced that he would appeal the case to the Supreme Court, declaring he had "never requested nor received bribes."
Ehud Olmert, who served as Israel's prime minister between 2006 and 2009, was forced to resign amid corruption allegations.
In July 2012, Olmert was found guilty on one count of breach of trust in the investment center case during his tenure as the Industry, Trade and Labor Minister between 2003 and 2005.