Israeli fraud investigators grilled former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for eight hours on Tuesday, police said, questioning him about suspected bribery and money laundering in a multimillion dollar real-estate scandal that has rocked the country.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Olmert was ordered to return to the headquarters of the national anti-fraud unit for further questioning on Sunday.
Rosenfeld said Olmert is suspected of accepting illicit payments, money laundering and violating the public trust while he was mayor of Jerusalem and Israel's trade minister — positions he held before becoming prime minister in 2006. He has not been charged in the case.
Olmert has denied all the allegations against him, calling them a "witch hunt." He says he never accepted a bribe during his three-decade-long political career.
Olmert is already standing trial on separate charges of accepting illicit funds from an American supporter and double-billing Jewish groups for trips abroad — also before he became prime minister.
But police say the scope of the latest corruption affair dwarfs the others.
Police say millions of dollars illegally changed hands to promote several real estate projects, including a controversial residential development in Jerusalem that required a radical change in zoning laws. The sprawling "Holyland" housing development, built on a prominent hilltop, is widely seen as a symbol of government corruption.
Police have already briefly arrested and questioned another former Jerusalem mayor, Uri Lupolianski, and other close Olmert associates in the affair.
Olmert, 63, arrived at the national fraud squad headquarters in central Jerusalem early Tuesday, as television cameras captured his car driving from his home to the police station.
Ahead of the interrogation, Olmert spokesman Amir Dan said the questioning would finally allow Olmert to address the accusations "after six weeks of baseless leaks."
"Olmert has stressed more than once that he was never offered a bribe and never accepted a bribe, not directly and not indirectly," Dan said in a statement. Dan's office did not return messages after the interrogation ended.
Olmert was prime minister from 2006 to 2009. His tenure was marked by wars against Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon and Hamas militants in Gaza, in addition to intense peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
He resigned in response to the corruption charges, which all related to his activities before becoming prime minister.