Indictment of Israel`s FM Lieberman recommended
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Last Updated: Sunday, August 02, 2009, 22:34
  
Jerusalem: In a major setback to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, Israel's National Fraud Squad has recommended the indictment of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on several charges, including graft and money laundering.

However, the ultra-nationalist leader denied any wrongdoing and claimed the police investigation was politically motivated.

The National Fraud Unit also alleged that Lieberman attempted to obstruct the investigation and badgered a witness for which it plans to add charges of obstruction of justice and witness harassment in any future indictment.

The head of the police investigations and Intelligence unit, Commander Yoav Segalovich, today submitted the results of investigations and police's recommendations to the Attorney General's Office for further review.

Lieberman, who emerged the kingmaker in February polls on a right-wing agenda directed towards Israel's Arab population, said: "I have been persecuted by the police for the past 13 years."

"The more political power Yisrael Beiteinu (his political party) and I gain the worse the attempts to force me out of public life get. There was never any reason to launch an investigation in the first place," he said in the statement.

Last month police wrapped up a decade-long criminal investigation into Lieberman, who according to local media is suspected of receiving illegal donations through bank accounts opened by his daughter in Cyprus.

It is not yet known whether Lieberman will withdraw his party's support to the Netanyahu led government, but such a move will lead to a major political crisis with no potential coalition partner among the opposition ranks in sight.

Normally seen as a one man party, Lieberman's hostile agenda against the Arab population calling for "No Loyalty, NoCitizenship" had a strong impact on Israel's young population in the aftermath of the Gaza war bringing Yisrael Beteinu 17 Knesset seats.

Lieberman has been the focus of several police investigations since the late 1990s, including alleged campaign financing infractions and receiving illegal funds from business tycoon, Martin Schlaf.

Bureau Report


First Published: Sunday, August 02, 2009, 22:34


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