'Lieberman received illegal tip-off'

Police suspect FM was given secret info about investigation against him.

By
March 2, 2010 16:21
1 minute read.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

avigdor lieberman i crush you 311. (photo credit: Yoni Hamenahem)

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was questioned by police on Tuesday on suspicion of having received in 2008 an illegal tip-off informing him of the police's suspicions against him, and allegedly allowing him to subvert the course of the investigation.

The tip-off was allegedly delivered to Lieberman by Israel's former ambassador to Belarus, Ze'ev Ben-Aryeh, who in August 2008 was asked by the Israel Police's National Fraud and Lahav 433 units to pass along a request for assistance to law enforcement authorities in Belarus as part of the investigation into Lieberman's affairs.

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Lieberman was a Knesset member at the time.

The request, which was sent to the Embassy in Belarus via the Justice Ministry, contained confidential information on bank account details and individuals in Belarus, according to Hebrew media reports. It was marked "secret," yet Ben-Aryeh allegedly opened the envelope, made a copy of the request, and handed over the information to Lieberman a few months later, when the two met in Belarus in 2008.

"Requests for assistance of this kind are very detailed, and are aimed partly at convincing foreign law enforcement agencies to cooperate in the investigation. Certainly, the target of the investigation is not supposed to gain access to such information," a police source told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

The source added that Lieberman answered all questions put to him on Tuesday.

Ben-Aryeh now serves as a diplomatic advisor in the Foreign Ministry and police say they are "also investigating Ben Aryeh's promotion and employment in the ministry in recent months."

Lieberman was questioned for two hours on Tuesday, while Ben-Aryeh was questioned in recent days, police said.

In August 2009, the Israel Police said evidence existed to charge Lieberman for taking bribes, fraudulently receiving goods, violating public office, obstructing justice, harassing witnesses, and laundering millions of shekels using a host of shell companies and bank accounts.

Freshly appointed Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein was briefed by state prosecutors on the police investigation into Lieberman last month.


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