|Avigdor Lieberman, then Israel's|
foreign minister, is shown during
a Nov. 21 news conference at the
prime minister's office in Jerusalem.
(Abir Sultan / European Pressphoto Agency)
Israel's former foreign minister indicted on fraud charges
Ex-foreign minister indicted in Israel
By Batsheva Sobelman
December 30, 2012, 9:52 a.m.
JERUSALEM — Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's controversial former foreign minister, was indicted Sunday on charges of fraud and breach of trust.
The indictment, issued in a Jerusalem court, follows a long, drawn-out legal investigation into accusations of corruption against Lieberman, known for his uncompromising right-wing positions toward the Palestinians and Israel's own Arab population.
It also comes three weeks before general elections and casts a shadow over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's senior ally, whose political future depends on the legal outcome.
Originally investigated for more serious charges of money-laundering and bribery, Lieberman was ultimately indicted in a side case that grew out of the primary investigation over the past decade.
According to the indictment, Israeli investigators in confidence asked the Israeli Embassy in Belarus to ask local authorities for discreet assistance on the probe into Lieberman’s activities. Israeli Ambassador Zeev Ben-Aryeh passed this information on to Lieberman when the latter, then deputy prime minister, visited Belarus in 2008.