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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 February 2007, 22:51 GMT
Israeli PM's aide in graft probe
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert is not a suspect, police say
A top aide to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been suspended from her job for six months while a corruption inquiry is conducted, officials say.

Shula Zaken, Mr Olmert's personal secretary, is being investigated by police over alleged bribe-taking that involved the tax authorities.

Mrs Zaken was already placed under house arrest for 10 days in January. She has not been charged.

Police say that Mr Olmert is not suspected of involvement in the case.

Several senior officials are being investigated as part of the same case. They all deny any wrongdoing.

'Advanced stage'

Police have for several months been investigating allegations that top government officials had either received or given bribes to win tax breaks for companies.

"The investigation into the tax authority affair is at an advanced stage, and existing evidence has led to the suspension of several people, including Mrs Zaken," state prosecutor Eran Shendar told Israeli's Channel Two television on Saturday.

Mrs Zaken is suspected of abusing her position to influence the appointment of some tax officials in return for tax benefits.

Mrs Zaken has been one of Mr Olmert's close aides for 30 years.

Correspondents say Mr Olmert has been dogged by allegations of corruption since he came to office, but he has never been charged.

Last month, state prosecutors ordered an investigation into his role in the privatisation of a bank in 2005 two years ago.

Mr Olmert - who was the finance minister at the time - has denied any wrongdoing.

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