"This is not a time for words, but for actions," declared Yehuda Weinstein when he was appointed attorney general in early 2010. Soon, finally, he will act, and issue his final decision on the allegations against Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. All the indications - none of which have been denied - point to his closing the case.
The current investigation against Lieberman on various suspicions of graft was launched in 2006. In 2009 the Israel Police submitted its file to the Economic Department of the State Prosecution, with a recommendation to indict Lieberman. Menachem Mazuz, the attorney general at the time, made a decision in principle to charge Lieberman with some of the crimes, but his term was up before the prosecution was able to give him its final opinion on the case. Before he left his post, he was quoted as saying in private conversations that the allegations against Lieberman were no less serious than the suspicions against former Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson, who was convicted of embezzlement in 2009.
Weinstein studied Lieberman's case for months on end. Several times he convened teams of more than 20 prosecutors for marathon sessions, during which they went through the file again and again. In April 2011 he even decided to charge the foreign minister - subject to a hearing - with fraud, aggravated fraud, breach of trust, money-laundering and witness-tampering.
If the case against Lieberman is indeed closed, the attorney general will now have to explain what happened since that decision 19 months ago to indict. Was he so convincingly persuaded by the arguments made by Lieberman's attorneys during the hearing, which ended recently? Or perhaps did the acquittals this summer of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the Rishon Tours and cash envelope cases give the attorney general cold feet?
Weinstein must take into account that closing the Lieberman case is liable to make him look not just like a weak and hesitant attorney general, but one who is serving his masters rather than the public. Weinstein is casting a heavy pall over the State Prosecution. The hope is that the High Court of Justice will deviate from its custom and agree to intervene in the decision, should petitions be filed against the closing of the Lieberman file.
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