MK Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Beytenu party, threatened on Wednesday to turn to the Supreme Court unless the Attorney General launches an investigation into leaks to the media from Lieberman’s interrogation by the police.
Lieberman is suspected of fraud and breach of trust after having suggested in December 2009 that the government name Ambassador Ze'ev Ben Aryeh, the former ambassador to Belarus, to a post in another country. This was done despite the fact that -- according to the evidence presented -- Lieberman knew that the ambassador had done wrong in passing along secret information, including details of a police inquiry against Lieberman.
On Wednesday, transcripts of Lieberman’s questioning were published by the Israeli media. Among other things, Lieberman is quoted in the transcripts as saying, when asked by police in 2010, that he told his party member MK Faina Kirschenbaum that Ben Aryeh is “an idiot who could get both of us into trouble”, after Ben Aryeh tried to pass along the secret information.
Other transcripts released Wednesday, this time from a more recent interrogation, quoted Lieberman as having vehemently denied that he recommended Ben Aryeh for any position, despite having earlier said that he “does not remember” whether he did so or not.
Testimony given by Lieberman’s former Deputy Minister, Danny Ayalon, has indicated that Lieberman was not only aware of the expected appointment but also worked and pushed for the appointment to be approved at the Appointments Committee of the Foreign Ministry.
Lieberman, according to the transcripts released Wednesday, was presented with Ayalon’s testimony but denied there was any truth to the fact that he pushed for Ben Aryeh’s appointment.
Lieberman’s trial officially began in February, and the former Foreign Minister informed the court at that time that he was denying the charges, and would plead not guilty. The evidence presentation stage of the trial will begin on Thursday. Lieberman has hinted that if he is convicted of corruption charges, he will not stay in politics.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni condemned on Wednesday the leaks from the Lieberman case, calling on the responsible parties to stop them.
“It is exactly those who are in charge of law enforcement that should be strict on this matter, whether it is a public figure or any other citizen," Livni said.