A joint statement by police and the justice ministry said that Ehud Olmert (photo, from liberation.fr), Israeli prime minister, was suspected of seeking “duplicate funding for his trips abroad from public bodies”.
An investigation into allegations of corruption against Mr Olmert has been widened by the police, in order to also look at whether he may have committed fraud.
While Mr Olmert denies any wrongdoing, there have been calls for him to resign.
In mid-September, a leadership election is due to be held by his governing Kadima party.
Israeli prime minister was earlier questioned, for the third times, over allegations stemming from before he became prime minister. The interrogation is part of an inquiry, attempting to establish if the prime minister dispensed favours in exchange for funds that he allegedly received illegally from Morris Talansky, a US financier.
Mr Talansky has testified he gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in envelopes full of cash to Israel’s prime minister, though he said that in return he did not seek or receive any favours.
Some of the money was used for expensive personal items and funds intended as loans were never repaid, he added, while Ehud Olmert has said that the funds were used legally, for election campaigns.
After Israel’s prime minister was interviewed, a statement was issued by the police and justice ministry, saying that he had also been “asked to give his account about suspicions of serious fraud and other offences”.
“According to the suspicions, during his tenure as Jerusalem mayor and trade and industry minister, Olmert would seek duplicate funding for his trips abroad from public bodies, including from the state, with each of them requested to fund the same trip”, it added.
And after the travel expenses were paid, police suspect that the “considerable sums” that remained were transferred by Mr Olmert to a special account, administered for him by his travel agency.
“These monies were used to finance private trips abroad by Olmert and his family”, the police statement said.
Until 2003, Ehud Olmert was mayor of Jerusalem for 10 years. Then for two yeas he served as minister of trade and industry, before succeeding Ariel Sharon as prime minister.
Although he has not responded to the latest allegations and has previously denied all wrongdoing, he said he will resigned if he is indicted.