Lieberman Indicted in Israel

Avigdor Lieberman, the former Foreign Minister for Israel was indicted on Sunday by the Justice Ministry in a court in Jerusalem for fraud and breach of trust in a case that risks harming the future of his political life.

Justice’s officials have accused Lieberman of attempting to advance a diplomat’s career after the diplomat relayed information for Lieberman about the criminal investigation regarding the business dealings of the former Cabinet member.

A draft indictment was released by the Justice Ministry on December 13 to both Lieberman and reporters. Sunday a version of that same draft that had been amended was filed in Court after prosecutors heard testimony that suggested Lieberman was even deeper involved than had been previously thought in attempting to promote the diplomat’s career.

The former minister has denied any wrongdoing. He resigned his post in the Cabinet earlier in December after being informed of possible charges, though he is still a member of the Israeli Parliament. He was not in court on Sunday when the indictment was read and would not make any comment regarding the indictment.

He is accused of trying to promote Zeev Ben-Aryeh the ambassador for Israel to Belarus. Ben-Aryeh entered a plea bargain with prosecutors earlier this year in the case.

The main suspicions against the former minister were not mentioned in the indictment. Those suspicions had been the focus of an investigation that lasted for years. However, prosecutors decided that they did not have enough evidence to bring charges of illicitly receiving millions of dollars against Lieberman.

If he is convicted of moral turpitude, he would have to resign from Parliament and would be banned for seven years from re-entering politics.

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