msnbc.com news services
updated 4/25/2007 12:14:02 PM ET 2007-04-25T16:14:02

Israel’s state comptroller recommended on Wednesday that the attorney general’s office launch a criminal investigation into a business deal Ehud Olmert conducted before becoming prime minister.

Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss concluded there was a possible conflict of interest in a deal Olmert was involved in while minister of industry and trade in a previous government, the comptroller’s office said. Lindenstrauss has clashed with Olmert in the past, and his recommendation Wednesday is not binding.

Corruption allegations have dogged Olmert throughout his long political career, but he never has been convicted. Authorities are currently conducting a criminal investigation of alleged misconduct in connection with the privatization of Bank Leumi when he was finance minister in 2005.

Olmert denied wrongdoing in the latest case.

"The prime minister has lost faith in the state comptroller," Olmert's office said in a statement. "We have no doubt that this 'affair', like all the other 'affairs' which were looked into by the state comptroller and ended in nothing, will blow away like foam on the surface of water," it said.

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