Avigdor Liberman 370.
(photo credit: Yossi Zamir)
In response to a petition calling for a decision on the Liberman charge before
elections, the state says the case is complicated, and decision will be made
before the elections.
The State Attorney’s Office and Attorney- General
Yehuda Weinstein said on Thursday that they will likely make a decision on
whether or not to indict Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman in about a month’s
time, and before the elections on January 22.
The potential allegations
raised against Liberman have varied from bribery to money laundering to witness
harassment and to lesser offenses.
The case goes back years, long before
Weinstein was attorney-general.
Thursday’s announcement came as part of
the state’s response to a petition filed to the High Court of Justice by the
Movement for Quality Government.
The petition called on the court to
order the state to explain its reasons for delaying the decision on the
indictment, and to order that a timetable be set by which the state would come
to a decision before January 22.
The court had previously ordered that
the state provide a preliminary explanation of its position on the issue, before
the court would make any decisions.
The State Attorney’s Office explained
in its preliminary response to the petition, that the case against Liberman is
exceedingly complicated and has required years of investigation for several
Dozens of witnesses, most of them do not reside in Israel and so
either refuse to testify, or are difficult to access, have been
The state is still only guessing which of the witnesses
could actually be brought to testify at trial. It received thousands of pages of
documents from other countries it is cooperating with.
Attorney’s Office added that it had no intention of rushing the decision on
Liberman as standard regulations state that no decisions should be rushed, or
slowed during, election period.
Independent of the petition, which the
state viewed as unjustly filed, it did inform the court that, as part of its own
process, it expected a decision on Liberman’s case within about a
While the state cannot likely be forced to stick to this latest of
deadlines, it is the first time that it has committed to a deadline on the
According to an earlier draft indictment, Liberman 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 foreign minister has already undergone an unusual
three pre-indictment hearing with the state attorney, and many times Weinstein
has said he would decide about whether to submit an indictment against him.