Police: Lieberman pocketed NIS 10 million using straw firms
Decade-long probe produces 'sufficient' evidence for criminal indictment; FM slams 'baseless' accusations.
The police's National Fraud Squad recommended Sunday that Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman be indicted for serious crimes including money laundering, accepting bribes, obstruction of justice and harassing a witness. Lieberman is suspected of setting up a chain of front companies and bank accounts that allowed him to take in more than NIS 10 million. The investigation, spanning more than a decade, has been one of Israel's longest ever.
The police also say they have accumulated enough evidence to bring charges against Lieberman's attorney, Yoav Many, and other people linked to the minister.
The police declined on Sunday to say whether they also recommend the indictment of Lieberman's daughter, Michal, who is suspected of having served as a front for the transfer of funds to Lieberman through a company she controlled.
The foreign minister issued a formal response minutes after news of the police recommendation broke. He said that "for the past 13 years the police have been on a campaign against me, and the more my political power and that of Yisrael Beiteinu increased, the more intense have been their efforts to remove me from public work."
Lieberman says there was no good reason to investigate him. "If the suspicions had any basis, the investigation would not have lasted more than a decade," he added.
He said it was only his petition to the High Court of Justice about a delay of justice that forced the police to get their act together. "There is no basis to the police recommendation. In other instances, their recommendations for an indictment ended without charges being pressed or in an acquittal, and this will also be the case now," he said.
Lieberman expressed the hope that the attorney general would behave fairly, without political motives or prejudices. "In a country of law and order a person, even if he is a minister, is innocent unless a court of law finds otherwise, and the Supreme Court reiterated this last week when it rejected the petition of the Movement for Quality Government regarding my case," Lieberman concluded.