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Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Israel's Lieberman faces charges, main case closed

Even though Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman escaped a major case that included accusations of fraud, money-laundering and witness tampering, he still faces charges of "breach of trust" and fraud

AFP , Thursday 13 Dec 2012

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman escaped major graft allegations on Thursday but was charged with lesser "breach of trust" and fraud offences, Israel's attorney general said.

"After examining the file, I have arrived at the conclusion that there is insufficient evidence to charge him in the first case and have decided to close it," Yehuda Weinstein said in a statement.

"But on the case of the promotion of the ambassador, I have decided to charge him," he added.

The decision closes a case that included explosive allegations of fraud, money-laundering and witness tampering against Lieberman, who has always proclaimed his innocence of all the allegations against him.

He will still face prosecution on charges of fraud and breach of trust for promoting an ambassador who had shared with him information about the case being built against the foreign minister.

While the closing of the main case against him is something of a victory for Lieberman, who leads the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, he will still face enormous pressure to resign over the charges, ahead of January 22 elections.

Lieberman's party is running on a joint list with the Likud faction of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which is expected to win around 39 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, far ahead of the opposition.

Several opposition parties have already called on Lieberman to step down if Weinstein charged him.

In the past, he had suggested he would resign if the main case against him went ahead, but with that case closed and elections a little over a month away, it was unclear if he would choose to step down.

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