Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has gone on trial in Jerusalem on corruption charges.

The 64-year-old was forced to stand down last year because of allegations that he took cash for favours.

He stayed on as caretaker leader but was succeeded as Kadima party leader last September by foreign minister Tzipi Livni.

Benjamin Netanyahu later took over as head of government.

Mr Olmert told reporters outside the courtroom that he had been the target of an ‘unfair’ legal witch hunt for three years and was anxious to clear his name.

He is accused of taking money from a US businessman, advancing the interests of clients of a former law partner and double-billing charities for expenses incurred on fundraisers.

Mr Olmert's alleged crimes relate to his time as mayor of Jerusalem and as industry and trade minister before he became prime minister in 2006 as head of the Kadima party.

Legal experts say if he is found guilty he could face up to five years in jail for each of the four charges.

A US businessman has testified that he gave Mr Olmert envelopes stuffed with hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Mr Olmert says the money was used for electioneering, denying he benefited personally in return for advancing the businessman's interests.