Speculation over whether he may return to political life has been rife since a Jerusalem court dismissed most of the counts against him Tuesday.
In the decision, Olmert was cleared of charges that he accepted cash-stuffed envelopes from an American supporter and that he double-billed Jewish organizations to cover his international travel.
Olmert was convicted of a third charge, breach of trust, for steering government contracts toward associates of a friend. But because the more serious charges were dismissed, the verdict was seen as a major victory for Olmert.
Olmert, 66, sought to play down expectations that he is eyeing a comeback, telling an academic conference Thursday that he has "no interest" in entering politics. "I am not involved and I don't intend to be involved," he said. "I am now busy with other things."
Many were not convinced. Avraham Burg, a former parliament speaker and confidant of Olmert's, laughed off the comments, saying they were not the final word on his friend's political future.
"Well, today, of course he says he is not returning to politics, but is he political potential? The answer is yes," Burg said. "Is there a chance that in the next election he will render his candidacy? There is a fair chance."
Olmert, who was unpopular when he was forced to resign, has enjoyed a comeback of sorts since this week's verdict.
Many commentators have lamented the breakdown in Mideast peace efforts under Netanyahu and wondered whether Olmert, who conducted more than a year of intense negotiations with the Palestinians, might have delivered an agreement had he not been driven from office.
Olmert has claimed he was on the brink of a historic agreement with the Palestinians at the time of his resignation. The Palestinians have said Olmert's assessment was overly optimistic.
Nonetheless, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' office said this week that a "great opportunity was wasted" with Olmert's exit.
Peace talks have been at a standstill since Netanyahu took office in March 2009, in large part because he has refused to endorse the concessions Olmert offered. Among them: a near complete pullout from the West Bank and shared administration, with international partners, over east Jerusalem. The Palestinians claim the West Bank and East Jerusalem, along with Gaza, all captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, for a future state.
At the time, the chief Palestinian negotiator said Olmert's offer was turned down because the Palestinians refused to compromise on East Jerusalem, including its sensitive Old City holy sites.
Olmert still faces sentencing for the breach-of-trust conviction on Sept. 5. He also faces another corruption trial connected to a bribery scandal surrounding a suspect Jerusalem real estate deal.