AG: Lieberman Probe Complete Within Weeks

Deputy AG Noa Mishur says the mutating 13+ year probe into FM Avigdor Lieberman will be complete 'within weeks'

Gabe Kahn ,

Israel news photo: Flash 90

Deputy Attorney General Noa Mishur on Monday responded to a letter from the Movement for Quality Government in Israel saying the investigation into Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will be concluded in the coming weeks.

"The hearings regarding Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman were held in January and February 2012," wrote Mishur. "Consequently, we expect the inquiry to be complete in the coming days after a few final arguments from Mr. Lieberman's defense team, per their request."

"Upon completion the findings will be passed to the Attorney General for review," Mishur added. "The Attorney General will not decide the matter or see the report until it is delivered so as to avoid questions of undue influence on our findings on his part."

"With regard to reports of the report being completed as early elections may be announced," his letter continued. "We refer you to the law guiding the Attorney General regarding the prosecution and enforcement of law prior to elections (No. 1.1913).

"According to Article 1, law enforcement activity before elections shall be conducted in relation to the established proceedings pertaining to elected officials and candidates, and decisions on these cases will, in general, depending on the course of current affairs, be made in accordance with normal enforcement priorities.

"Therefore, the case concerning Mr. Lieberman will be conducted according to the law and following normal enforcement policies," he concluded.

The probe into Lieberman has been of inordinate length and mutated when police found themselves unable to prove criminal misconduct on the initial crimes the investigation was opened to pursue.

The Attorney General's office is presently digging through Lieberman's financial statements dating back to 1997, when he was the Director-General of the Prime Minister's Office, with the aim of indicting him on charges of money laundering, fraud, and breach of trust.

However, police say they began their inquiry in 1999 – 13 years ago – as a fruitless probe into alleged infractions of Israel's campaign financing laws. Turning up nothing, they moved onto Lieberman's business and banking practices.

As early as 2003, then-attorney-general Elyakim Rubinstein – now a Supreme Court justice – published a scathing report exposing police misconduct vis-a-vis the Lieberman investigation. Rubinstein recommended removing head of the Police Investigations Unit Moshe Mizrahi from his post.

He charged that Mizrahi brazenly extended permissions he obtained to bug politicians’ phones, illicitly eavesdropped on their conversations and those of their families, and transcribed extensive conversations that had nothing to do with his investigatory mandate.

Critics note that Mizrahi is seeking a spot on Labor's next Knesset list.