Ex-Israeli prime minister Olmert freed from prison

Olmert accompanied by security guards

Ex-Israeli prime minister Olmert freed from prison

Disgraced former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert has been released from prison after a parole board chose to trim his sentence on corruption charges by a third, according to Israeli media reports Sunday.

Then-Prime Minister of Israel Ehud Olmert (left) and President George W. Bush meet in the Oval Office before a National Security Council briefing in 2006.

Olmert, 71, served 16 months of his 27-month corruption sentence at a prison near Tel Aviv.

Last month, the state attorney's office instructed police to investigate suspicions Olmert had smuggled a chapter of a book he was writing out of prison, an act that would constitute a felony due to the "secretive" content, the justice ministry said.

The conditions of his parole were not made public, but Israeli media reported that they include reporting to police twice a month and a ban on leaving the country.

His release followed a decision by the Israel Prison Service parole board Thursday to shorten his sentence by more than a third.

Olmert has formally asked President Reuven Rivlin to lift his parole restrictions.

The parole board decided that Olmert's rehabilitation program, designed by the Prisoner Rehabilitation Authority, is to remain confidential.

In a video message released just before he began his sentence, Olmert, a debonair man reputed to have a taste for fine cigars, maintained his innocence.

In March 2014, Olmert was found guilty of two counts of bribery when he served as mayor of Jerusalem at the turn of the 2000s, in exchange for helping the developers of the city's Holyland Park residential project.

He had been taken to hospital for chest pains, examined, cleared and returned to prison.

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