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Israeli foreign minister resigns over fraud charge

Last Updated: Friday, December 14, 2012 - 22:56

London: Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman Friday resigned after being charged with fraud and breach of trust following a long-running investigation, BBC reported.

The 54-year-old Lieberman also resigned as deputy prime minister, and said he would fight to clear his name.

The case against him relates to a financial scandal dating back more than a decade.

His resignation comes five weeks before Israel`s general election.

Lieberman leads the secular, ultranationalist Yisrael Beiteinu faction, which has joined forces with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu`s Likud Party for the Jan 22 elections, according to the New York Times.

He is widely considered one of Israel`s most powerful and popular politicians.

Lieberman said he had been hounded by corruption accusations since July 1996, when he served as a top aide to Netanyahu during his first term as prime minister.

"Since then till today, not a day has passed without me being referred to as `a suspect`, `being under investigation`, `being an intelligence target`," Lieberman was quoted as saying by the NYT.

"This has been one long and rolling case, receiving a different title every now and then."


First Published: Friday, December 14, 2012 - 22:56
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