Lieberman: I'm a victim of a crusade

Says Justice Ministry should end its 10 year quest to charge him with receiving illegal campaign funds.

Lieberman makes point 224 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
Lieberman makes point 224 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimksi [file])
Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman attacked the Justice Ministry on Monday, claiming that he has been the victim of a decade-long witch hunt intended to prevent his political advancement. In a press conference at Tel Aviv's Beit Sokolow, Lieberman listed several probes opened against him that had never led anywhere. He said he had heard from people questioned in the investigations that police told them investigators were trying to incriminate him for political reasons. "I am holding a [letter] from the Justice Ministry from two years ago which announced the renewal of the investigation," Lieberman told reporters during a press conference. "After two years, I've decided I'm not willing to wait any longer. "Since July 1996 until today, I've been a serial suspect and a target of the investigations department of the police," Leiberman said. "I can't remember all of the different, unusual investigations I've been through. Lieberman said he had "definitely been declared fair game." He insisted that the police had no excuse not to end the investigation. "Ten years is enough time - if they want to file an indictment, then they should go ahead and file one. If they can't - then close the case," he said. "This is a crusade involving extortion and threats directed towards those associated with me," Lieberman declared. The Israeli Beiteinu chairman added that he had no intention of allowing the investigation to go on much longer, and that he would fight to see it ended quickly. "I will demand that the state prosecutor end the investigation, and if there is no answer, I'll immediately turn to the High Court of Justice," Lieberman said. "That will be the plan - on the 27th of every month, until this situation is over." Last year, detectives probed the former minister concerning funds allegedly channeled into an overseas account, which detectives believe went to fund his most recent election campaign. Other probes into Lieberman and his daughter, Michal, remain open. Officials connected to the investigations against Lieberman said that the reason they had lasted so long was that Lieberman had not fully cooperated with them. They said that only recently did Lieberman submit forms that had been requested some time ago. Public Security Minister Avi Dichter said Monday that he had complete faith in the ongoing investigation. "If MK Lieberman has any concrete complaints, he knows where he can direct them," said Dichter. "I am certain that the Investigations and Prosecutions branch is putting forth nothing but a professional investigation." Police commissioner Insp.-Gen. David Cohen echoed Dichter's remarks, saying he, too, would stand behind the Investigations and Prosecutions branch and its investigation of Lieberman. "I have total faith in the norms and integrity of investigators and Israel Police," Cohen said Monday. "And I give my full support to those involved in the investigation." Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.