Indictment of Israel`s FM Lieberman recommended

Last Updated: Sunday, August 2, 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 2, 2009 - 22:34

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