Israel indicts former foreign minister
Jerusalem: Israel`s ultra-nationalist former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was Sunday indicted by the government for fraud and breach of trust, a decision which could harm his political career, if convicted.
Lieberman, 54, whose party is running on a joint list with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu`s Likud party in the upcoming January 22 general elections, has denied committing any criminal offence.
He will lose all the possibilities of running for any public office if found guilty.
The Justice Ministry (Israeli government ministry) today filed an updated indictment against Liberman at the Jerusalem Magistrate`s Court amending the original indictment retaining charges of fraud and breach of trust but adding the clause of moral turpitude presenting new details implicating the Yisrael Beteinu Chairman of abuse of authority.
Much of the breach of trust case focuses on Lieberman`s alleged involvement in the promotion of former Israeli Ambassador to Belarus, Zeev Ben Aryeh, within the Diplomatic Corps to the post of Ambassador to Latvia.
The promotion was allegedly promised to Ben Aryeh after he gave Lieberman secret details pertaining to a criminal investigation against him in a case which has since been closed.
Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein presented the amended indictment on Thursday.
It is being said that the revisions were made possible following the deposition of Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who has been dropped from Lieberman`s party list for the upcoming elections and is expected to be the State`s key witness against his former boss.
Other names on the Prosecution`s witness list include former Foreign Ministry Director General Yossi Gal, who is currently the Ambassador to France and former head of the Foreign Ministry`s Personnel Directorate, Shimon Roded, who is currently the Ambassador to Thailand.
Liberman resigned as foreign minister and waived his parliamentary immunity two weeks ago when the initial draft indictment was presented to the Knesset.
"I say again I have not committed any criminal offence. I`ve asked the Knesset to remove my parliamentary immunity and I wish for nothing more than for this to be made clear in a court of law", the ultra-nationalist leader said professing his innocence.
"The rumours about a plea bargain are not true. The truth will come out in court," he added as opinion polls predicted a huge plunge in the Likud Beteinu joint list`s poll prospects.
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