'Decision on how to proceed in Lieberman case to come within a few weeks'

Decision on how to proc

The decision on whether to close the file on Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman or to invite him to a hearing that will determine whether or not the state will press charges against him will be made in a few weeks, State Attorney Moshe Lador said in an interview published Tuesday. In the interview, which appeared in the latest edition of the Israel Bar Association's monthly journal, Lador also said he opposed splitting the functions of the attorney-general into two different jobs and that there was evidence of improper behavior on the part of former prime minister Ehud Olmert in the Bank Leumi affair, but not enough to indict him. Lieberman has been under investigation for more than nine years on the charges that may lead to his indictment. On August 12, the police completed the investigation and recommended charging him with a long list of criminal violations including accepting bribes, money-laundering, harassing a witness and interfering with judicial procedures. Since then, the file has been in the hands of the state prosecution. If the state believes it has enough evidence to prove Lieberman's guilt beyond reasonable doubt, the attorney-general will offer him a hearing before making his final decision on the matter. Based on Lador's statement, it is likely that the initial decision will be made by Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz, who is due to retire at the end of January 2010. On another matter, Lador said it was "vital that the office of the attorney-general continue to remain as it is today, perhaps with a few small changes. In Israel, it is impossible to act effectively if there isn't one person which sees the overall picture and makes comprehensive decisions which provide solutions in several different areas." Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman is currently considering whether or not to split the attorney-general's job into two separate positions, a legal adviser to the government and a head of the state prosecution. According to reports, Neeman favors splitting the jobs. But Lador said that the fight against crime, for example, required someone with the stature and overview to coordinate the various agencies involved in law enforcement. "It appears that one must be closely familiar with the work of the attorney-general to understand the importance of concentrating all the professional authority in the hands of one person who guides and decides and can guarantee full synchronicity - which is essential - in determining the state's position in the various areas of law," he said. With regard to the decision not to charge Olmert with accepting bribes in the affairs included in the indictment, Lador said the prosecution had not given Olmert special treatment, but did not have enough evidence to prove the charge.