Lieberman's hearing delayed by a month

Attorney-General decides to delay until mid January heading for Lieberman, who was accused of fraud, breach of trust.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
December 14, 2011 23:08
1 minute read.
Former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein decided on Tuesday to delay until mid-January a hearing that could decide the fate of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's political career.

Weinstein decided eight months ago to indict Lieberman, pending a hearing, on charges of fraud, breach of trust, obtaining something through deceit, money-laundering and witness harassment.

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According to the draft indictment, Lieberman is suspected of receiving millions of dollars from private business people, through straw companies, between the years 2001 and 2008, while he was a member of Knesset and a cabinet minister.

The hearing had been set to begin Thursday, but Weinstein agreed to postpone it at the request of Lieberman's lawyers in order to give them more time to examine thousands of documents of evidence and properly prepare for the hearing.

Weinstein is expected to make a final decision about whether to indict Lieberman within two or three months after the hearing, which will take at least two days.

Lieberman would be under no obligation to resign from the cabinet or from the leadership of Israel Beiteinu if he is indicted but he has said on multiple occasions that he would leave those posts in order to concentrate on his trial. He legally would have to quit the Knesset.

Sources close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have hinted that a Lieberman indictment could persuade him to take steps to advance a general election. Without Lieberman, there would be less competition for Netanyahu's Likud Party for right-of-center voters who are the prime minister's political base.

Israel Beiteinu officials responded that they were not concerned about the impact of the hearing on the party, no matter when it takes place.


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