Lieberman talks to press.
(photo credit: Pool/Haaretz, Tal Cohen)
The state’s decision on whether to indict or close the criminal investigation
against Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is likely to be made by the end of
February, Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein’s senior aide, Razz Nazri, informed
the Ometz government watchdog group late last week.
“We have already
asked to schedule two days of additional discussions [on the matter] during the
month of February,” Nazri wrote. “We estimate, and it is our intention, to make
the decision by the end of the month.”
On August 2, 2009, police handed
over the evidence it had gathered on the Lieberman investigation to the state
prosecution with a recommendation to indict him. On the same day, in a response
to a petition by Lieberman to the High Court of Justice demanding to speed up
the investigation, the state informed the court that “the prosecution will give
top priority to the handling of the file given the lengthy amount of time that
has [already] elapsed so that the matter can be presented to the
attorney-general as early [as possible] to enable him to made a
Now, according to Nazri’s letter to Ometz, at least 18 months
will have passed between the time police handed over the file to the prosecution
and the time the prosecution decides what to do with it.
investigation against Lieberman began in 2000. Referring to the length of time
that had elapsed without a decision being made on the case, Lieberman’s lawyer,
Ya’acov Weirton, charged that “there has never been anything like this in the
history of the State of Israel.”
According to the state prosecution,
however, the investigation currently under consideration by the state
prosecution began in 2006 and not in 2000.
In a letter written on October
26, 2006, Nazri wrote, “The investigation being conducted now deals with new
matters that have come up during the [original] investigation and that arouse
suspicions of possible violations of the Criminal Code regarding ethical
As a result, police have had to continue investigating the
affair. Currently, the investigation is focusing on these [alleged] violations
and not on the original ones involving election campaign funding.”
order to emphasize that the investigation was not as prolonged as Lieberman
claimed, the state in 2008 formally announced that it was closing the original
The new suspicions against the Israel Beiteinu leader
include fraud, breach of trust, bribery and money laundering.
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
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich downplayed the
impact of an indictment during a speech in Kfar Saba on Saturday, saying that
his party had many good people and would continue to exist even if the minister
stepped down from its leadership.Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.