Mazuz: Speed up Lieberman probe

A-G urges police to expedite seven-year investigation.

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL
October 26, 2006 02:09
1 minute read.
Attorney General Menahem Mazuz 298

mazuz speaks 298.88. (photo credit: Channel 2)

 
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Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz called on police to speed up the seven-year-old investigation into MK Avigdor Lieberman, who is suspected of maintaining illegal contacts in Russia and of campaign financing irregularities in the 1999 elections. In response, police said Wednesday that the investigation was not stalled, but that the complexities of international investigations were slowing down the process. Supporters of the Israel Beiteinu head have complained that the investigation has been taking too long and that it was carried out in an illegal manner. Mazuz has also been called upon to publish the status of the Lieberman investigation file, but has refused. The attorney-general rarely releases such details for fear of undermining the police investigation. Even though details remain unknown, the Lieberman investigation has garnered attention. When he was putting together the coalition, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asked Mazuz for his opinion about Lieberman, and Mazuz responded that he didn't think Lieberman should be a minister responsible for the law enforcement system. Lieberman had previously pushed for the position of internal security minister, one of the ministries that Mazuz told Olmert was off-limits. Police said in response to Mazuz's comments Wednesday that "obviously, there are differences among the thousands of files and suspicions that are being investigated" and emphasized that "especially in cases involving fraud, breaking of public trust and international and financial offenses there are many factors that the Israel Police cannot control and thus occasionally the investigations take longer than desired." A senior police officer emphasized that "the police are doing everything in their ability to advance and complete as soon as possible all investigations, and especially those that affect public figures." The same officer added that in the Lieberman investigation, the complications involved in relying upon overseas cooperation have caused the investigation to take longer. The investigation also ran into trouble over illegal wiretaps by Cmdr. Moshe Mizrahi, who allegedly collected information about Lieberman in excess of court orders in 1998 and 1999 allowing the police to wiretap Lieberman's phone in order to determine whether Lieberman had ties to Russian underworld figures.

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