Police Raid 20 Locations Across Israel in Olmert Probe
Over 100 police officers raided offices across Israel Sunday morning, seizing evidence in connection with several criminal investigations involving Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Police were looking for documents relating to Olmert's purchase of his home in Jerusalem.
He is suspected of buying the property at a discounted price in return for helping the contractor obtain building permits.
Olmert is also under two separate investigations involving improper political favors during his term as trade and industry minister between 2003 and 2005.
The Prime Minister has denied any wrongdoing.
Consequences for Peace Summit
The police sweep occurred just as Olmert's popularity had begun to rebound after plummeting during last year's inconclusive war against Hezbollah.
A criminal indictment of the Prime Minister would seriously jeopardize the peace summit scheduled to take place this month in Annapolis, Maryland.
Even if a peace deal were to be reached, the Israeli leader's vulnerability would make implementing an agreement difficult.
Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, has vowed to undo Olmert's coalition in the Knesset if final-status issues -- Jerusalem, refugees, borders -- are discussed at Annapolis.
Consequently, Israeli and American leaders have begun dampening expectations ahead of the peace summit.
The lowered hopes come despite Olmert's announced plan to release 400 Palestinian prisoners by late November as a gesture of good will.