A-G set to indict Lieberman, Globes reports

Charges against FM to include breach of trust, money laundering, obstruction of justice but not bribery, sources say.

February 17, 2011 20:14
2 minute read.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (AP).

Lieberman 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)


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Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein is due to announce within days his decision to indict, subject to a hearing, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on charges of fraud, breach of trust, money laundering, and obstruction of justice. Sources inform ''Globes'' that Weinstein has decided not to indict Lieberman on bribery charges, and he is still wavering over charges of fraudulent receiving.

The Attorney General's Office is scheduled to hold more meetings in the coming days on the wording of the indictment, and a decision will be announced within two weeks.

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Lieberman: 'Relations with Netanyahu are intact'

The Ministry of Justice believes that one of the difficulties it will face when the official decision is announced is the need to explain why the bribery charge was dropped. However, the attitude of the participants in the meetings with Weinstein is that, while bribery is a more serious charge than fraud and breach of trust, carrying a seven-year prison sentence, compared with three years for breach of trust, the breach of trust charge is actually the more significant crime that the legislature seeks to prevent in cases of public officials. This is because the banning of bribery is aimed at preventing the receiver of bribes from facing a conflict of interests in his public position, i.e. to commit a breach of trust.

The investigation against Lieberman has lasted five years. The Economics Division of the State Prosecutor's Office has monitored the investigation since it was opened in April 2006. The Israel Police completed its investigation in August 2009, and recommended indicting Lieberman on receiving bribes, aggravated fraudulent receiving, fraud, breach of trust, obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and money laundering. The police did not recommend indicting him for filing false corporate documents.

In December 2009, the State Prosecutor asked for a supplementary investigation. At the same time, discussions began between State Prosecutor Moshe Lador and then-attorney general Meni Mazuz. Mazuz was reluctant to make a decision in the case before his term expired in January 2010, and ultimately passed the decision to his successor. In the past few weeks, Weinstein has held a number of meetings on the case ahead of making his final decision. At these meetings, the police recommendation and a legal opinion by the State Prosecutor's Economics Division to accept the police's recommendation on most of the charges, were presented.

Lieberman has been a suspect for over a decade, but the current investigation began in April 2006 on the basis of information obtained by Mazuz. In January 2009, nearly three years later, the Police National Fraud Unit arrested seven suspects and conducted searches of their homes and offices. One of the arrested men was Lieberman's attorney, Yoav Meni.

The police said, "This was a complicated, multifaceted, and widespread investigation in Israel and abroad, which involved a range of investigations, that also involved international law."

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