Lieberman’s pre-indictment hearing set to begin

Foreign minister faces allegations of fraud, breach of trust, money-laundering and obstruction of justice from 2001-2008.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN,
January 17, 2012 03:20
1 minute read.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman 311 (R). (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)

Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein is set to begin a twoday pre-indictment hearing for Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday.

Weinstein told Lieberman last April that he planned to indict him, pending a hearing, on charges of fraud, breach of trust, fraudulent receipt, money-laundering and witness harassment.

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What is Lieberman being accused of?

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 in December, but Weinstein agreed to postpone it at the request of Lieberman’s lawyers to give them more time to examine thousands of documents of evidence and properly prepare.

Weinstein is expected to make a final decision about whether to indict Lieberman within months of the hearing.

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 several occasions that he would leave those posts to concentrate on his trial. He would have to quit the Knesset.

Police have been investigating Lieberman for more than 12 years, and most recently in 2006. On August 2, 2009, police handed over the evidence they had gathered to the State Attorney’s Office with a recommendation to indict Lieberman.

Police suspect that Lieberman obtained NIS 10 million, which was funneled through six to eight straw companies.

These acts allegedly occurred while he served as transportation minister, national infrastructure minister and strategic affairs minister.

Lieberman is also suspected of receiving a tip-off from then-ambassador to Belarus Ze’ev Ben-Aryeh in 2008, which allowed him to subvert an investigation into allegations that Lieberman had accepted bribes and failed to report income to the tax authorities.


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