Israeli court sets Feb 17 for Lieberman trial

AFP , Sunday 27 Jan 2013

The trial of Israel's ex-FM Avigdor Lieberman is set on February 17 following his electoral victory in last Tuesday's Knesset elections

Former Israeli Foreign Minister and head of the Yisrael Beitenu party Avigdor Lieberman attends a Likud-Yisrael Beitenu campaign rally in the southern city of Ashdod January 16, 2013 (Photo: Reuters)


A Jerusalem court on Sunday set February 17 as the opening date for former Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman's trial on corruption charges.

The case is to be heard by a panel of three judges, according to a copy of the ruling by the Jerusalem magistrates court.

Lieberman resigned his cabinet post last month after being charged with fraud and breach of trust but remains head of the hardline secular nationalist Yisrael Beitenu which ran in an alliance with the rightwing Likud of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in last Tuesday's general election.

The combined list won 31 seats in the 120-member Israeli parliament and is likely to be the senior partner in a yet-to-be-formed coalition government, but Lieberman's political future will depend on the outcome of the trial.

He denies the charges against him, saying he is eager to vindicate himself in court.

Lieberman has faced several investigations since 1996 on a number of fraud and corruption allegations but has never been convicted.

The Soviet-born former nightclub bouncer has courted controversy with his hardline stance on Israel's Arab minority, with critics accusing him of racism.

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