AG: Lieberman can't be police minister
Kadima expected to keep portfolio, since Lieberman is under investigation.
By DAN IZENBERG AND GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
April 23, 2006 22:24
1 minute read.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz told Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman cannot be appointed Internal Security Minister while a police investigation into is activities is still being conducted, especially given the substance of the allegations against him, the Justice Ministry spokesman announced on Sunday.
The spokesman wrote that Mazuz had since been updated by State Attorney Eran Shendar, who told him that the investigation against Lieberman was still in progress.
The investigation against Lieberman began seven years and involves suspicions that he used his connections with the Russian mafia to prevent the collapse of an Austrian bank by tampering with the value of the Russian ruble, for which he allegedly earned $3 million. He is also suspected of using illegal donations to finance his party's first run for the Knesset in 1999.
Lieberman's spokeswoman responded that he had not received an official response from Mazuz. He called the decision "a political maneuver that has continued on since our success in the election."
"The investigation has been handled in a ridiculous way for 10 years," Lieberman said. "Olmert needs to prove his leadership and do the right thing by appointing me internal security minister."
Kadima officials have said that if Lieberman is not allowed to become internal security minister, the portfolio will be assigned to a Kadima MK and that Lieberman would be offered another top post. Former Shin-Bet chief Avi Dichter has spoken to Olmert about portfolios in recent days and he is considered the top candidate in Kadima for the position.