Police Want Lieberman Charged for Obstructing Corruption Probe

Foreign minister is suspected of having obtained classified police material from an ongoing police investigation against him.

Police are expected to recommend indicting Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and former ambassador Zeev Ben Aryeh for breach of trust and obstruction of justice.

And in an unrelated development, two fraud squad officers will go to New York after this week's Shavuot holiday to follow the trail of money believed to have been used in the Holyland bribery and money laundering case.

Police believe that Lieberman was shown classified material from an ongoing police investigation against him over allegations of fraud and embezzlement. Ben Aryeh, Israel's former ambassador to Belarus, is suspected of giving Lieberman the documents - which he received from the Justice Ministry for transfer to the Belarus authorities - as early as October 2008.

At that point, none of Lieberman's associates had been questioned or arrested.

Ben Aryeh received the documents via the Foreign Ministry in the summer of 2008. They contained a request for information from the Belarus authorities regarding the original investigation against Lieberman.

The new investigation against Lieberman and Ben Aryeh was recently completed and is awaiting a decision by Yoav Segalovitch, who heads the police investigations and intelligence department, on whether to recommend indicting both men.

Police have already recommended indicting Lieberman in the original corruption case. State Prosecutor Moshe Lador is to decide on that matter in a few weeks. If he adopts the recommendation, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein will then have to make the final decision.

Police officers have complained recently about the prosecution's delay in that case, saying it should have made a decision on the main charges by now, even if it needed more time to consider other, subsidiary charges.

In March, Lieberman asked the High Court of Justice to order a probe into who leaked information from the police investigation against him in 2008. He also slammed the police over leaks on his alleged receipt of classified information from Ben Aryeh.

"This whole affair is nonsense," he said. "When details of an interrogation are published without any indictment being filed, that is obstructing an investigation par excellence."

The two fraud squad officers who will go to New York, Chief Superintendent Itzik Avraham and Superintendent Iris Barak, both took part in previous investigations against former prime minister Ehud Olmert. In the Holyland case, police suspect that bribes allegedly intended for Olmert were passed to other people, including his brother Yossi Olmert, who has been living in New York in recent years.

Olmert has denied the allegations, and so far, no checks have been found to substantiate them. The detectives are therefore looking for bank accounts or middlemen who may have received cash payments.

The detectives may summon Yossi Olmert for questioning. People questioned overseas can condition the interview on the presence of their lawyers.

A representative of the State Prosecutor's Office is expected to accompany the detectives, who have received the American authorities' consent for their inquiry.