Police to question Lieberman on fraud allegations

Questioning to take place in next few weeks; Israel Beiteinu: No surprise in timing of announcement.

Israel Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman will be summoned within the next few weeks for an interrogation under caution over allegations of fraud and money laundering. It follows a request submitted by the Police Investigations and Intelligence Division head to Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz in a meeting Wednesday evening. Police investigators updated State Attorney Moshe Lador and other senior legal figures on the investigation's progress in the meeting, and the next steps in the case were deliberated. Senior Israel Beiteinu members said that it came as no surprise to find that the police announced Lieberman's interrogation shortly before his scheduled meeting for coalition consultations with President Shimon Peres, just as there was "no surprise that police made headlines about Lieberman's investigation two weeks before the elections, and it will surprise no one if it happens again right before Lieberman is appointed minister." Lieberman returned to Israel from a vacation in Minsk on Wednesday evening and met with Peres Thursday morning to inform him of his endorsement of Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu for prime minister. Last month, Lieberman's daughter Michal was taken into custody together with six Lieberman associates, including the Israel Beiteinu leader's former lawyer, Yoav Mani. The National Fraud Unit said a clear case against Lieberman had emerged, centered on the bank accounts opened in Cyprus under the name of Michal Lieberman, allegedly used to funnel millions of shekels as an illicit channel for fraud and money laundering. Lieberman has been under on-and-off investigation on various suspicions since 2001. Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.