avigdor lieberman 88.
(photo credit: )
Minister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman joined a dubious list of political heavyweights Sunday who have recently been questioned by white-collar crime squads under suspicion of finance-related crimes.
Lieberman was questioned under caution Sunday morning by National Fraud Squad detectives at the elite unit's Bat Yam offices.
During the eight-hour-long interrogation, detectives probed the minister concerning funds allegedly channeled into an overseas account, which detectives believe went to fund his most recent election campaign.
Lieberman, however, was not alone. A line of prominent businessmen were also questioned by the investigators, and some of them had their property searched for documents pertaining to the investigation.
Almost six months ago, police chief Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi announced that the police would present the findings of their investigation into Lieberman to the Attorney-General's Office together with a recommendation that the case against the Yisrael Beiteinu head be closed. But upon reviewing evidence against Lieberman, Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz decided to permit detectives to question the serving minister.
There are similarities between this investigation - concerning funding for the most recent Knesset election - and the older investigation that was closed.
Once again, police believe that Austrian businessman Martin Schlaff may be involved in the case. Schlaff - and others - are suspected of having deposited money illegally to the Yisrael Beiteinu head's secret Cypriot bank account.
Prior to November, Lieberman was being investigated for alleged illegal connections overseas and for irregularities in funding during the 1999 election.
Police sources said that they had examined Lieberman's relations with Schlaff. Schlaff, along with the Palestinian Authority, Casinos Austria, and the Austrian bank BAWAG, is a partial owner of the now-defunct Oasis Casino in Jericho, and was also a central figure in corruption investigations against then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his sons.