Justice Ministry denies Liberman plea deal in works

Liberman is under investigation for fraud, breach of trust, deceit, money-laundering, witness harassment; Israeli media had reported plea bargain in offing.

FM Liberman in the rain near Jordan Valley_390 (photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
FM Liberman in the rain near Jordan Valley_390
(photo credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)
The Justice Ministry denied on Monday rumors that Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and the State Attorney’s Office plan to open plea bargain negotiations in the coming weeks.
“Decisions are being made about the case after previous hearings,” the Justice Ministry spokesman explained. “It is too early to speculate about plea bargains, and any reports on the matter are not true.”
Media sources reported that the State Attorney’s Office sent Liberman’s lawyers a proposed hearing in writing, in which he would have to answer questions within three weeks, and the plea deal would come after the answers are received.
Liberman’s office refused to comment on the matter.
The foreign minister is under investigation for charges of fraud, breach of trust, obtaining benefits through deceit, money laundering and witness harassment. 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 three hearings, and one year ago, Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein said he will submit an indictment against him. However, the six-year investigation of Liberman’s case is still ongoing, and no charge sheet has been submitted.
The Movement for Quality Government called for Weinstein to explain why there has not been any progress in the case.
The NGO said it is in the public’s interest for Liberman to be put on trial, rather than be given a plea bargain, as he is a senior official and the court must not leave his case unresolved.
“We need to know where this case stands, and not just hear about it from anonymous sources and rumors in the media,” a Movement for Quality Government spokesman said on Monday.