Indictment Of FM Lieberman Expected This Week

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said he plans to indict FM Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu) on a slew of corruption charges this week.

Contact Editor
Gabe Kahn., | updated: 20:40

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced Wednesday he intends to indict Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman later this week, Channel 2 reports.

The indictment includes charges of fraud, breach of trust, money laundering and harrassing a witness. Weinstein said he will hold hearings before proceeding with the  indictment in which Lieberman's lawyers can defend him.

Lieberman's lawyer, Yoav Mani, and his assistant, Sharon Shalom, will also be indicted, according to the report.

Police recommended Lieberman be indicted more than 18 months ago, but the Attorney-General’s Office postponed the move, saying it needed to be be fine-tuned, but pledging that it would be filed before Passover.

According to Justice Ministry officials, Weinstein has been holding high-level discussions over the indictment with members of his staff for the past several weeks over what, exactly, Lieberman should be charged with.

In February, the charge of accepting bribes was dropped because of the difficulty in obtaining physical evidence to substantiate the charge, as well as the difficulty in subpoenaing witnesses, many of whom live abroad, for trial.

The most recent investigation into Lieberman began in 2006. On August 2, 2009, police gave evidence gathered in the Lieberman investigation to the state prosecution with a recommendation to indict him.

Police suspect Lieberman obtained NIS 10 million, which was funneled through six to eight strawman companies. These acts allegedly occurred during his tenures as Transportation Minister, National Infrastructures Minister, and Strategic Affairs Minister.

Lieberman is also suspected of having received an illegal tip-off from then-Ambassador to Belarus Ze’ev Ben-Aryeh in 2008, which allowed him to subvert investigations into his conduct.

Sources close to Lieberman said he would not topple a right-wing government to scuttle the charges because it could alienate his political base.

“I hate to disappoint you," Liberman reiterated to the press. "But I have no intention of leaving the government. We will achieve what the Likud promised us in the coalition agreement, without threats and crises.”

Lieberman’s spokesman declined to comment, saying he would only respond after hearing about an indictment from Weinstein and not from the media.