Police say case against Lieberman boosted by newly revealed documents
Some 2,500 documents were sent to Israeli investigators from Cyprus in September.
Some 2,500 documents sent to Israel from Cyprus in September have led to significant progress in the ongoing investigation of Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman.
The documents, whose existence had been kept secret until now, provide information about the activities of various companies through which police believe that Lieberman and his associates laundered money. They include bank statements detailing financial transfers among a long list of accounts that police believe were opened by Lieberman's associates as part of this effort.
The documents' arrival prompted a substantial boost in manpower for the fraud squad team handling the probe. Now, this team believes it has succeeded in linking Lieberman to the financial transfers in Cyprus.
During a remand hearing on Sunday for three of the seven suspects arrested in the case this week, some of these documents were shown to Judge Benny Sagi of the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court - though not yet to the defense. Sagi was apparently referring to these documents when he wrote, in his ruling extending the remands, that "there has been an additional, extremely significant investigative development that strengthens the suspicion" against the suspects. "This is not a trivial suspicion," he added.
Sagi noted that "significant sums" had been deposited in the suspect bank accounts, "often amounting to millions of shekels." Such deposits were made on a regular basis, he continued, sometimes even every month.
Aside from the Cyprus documents, police also seized another 1,000 or so documents from the offices of Lieberman's attorney, Yoav Many. These, too, shed light on the alleged offenses.
Yesterday, police questioned Lieberman's daughter, Michal, for the second day in a row. She is suspected of being the "front woman" for Lieberman's alleged transactions. During the interrogation, however, she began feeling ill, received medical attention and was sent home. She is currently under a five-day house arrest.
Many, the chief suspect in the case aside from Lieberman, was not questioned yesterday, after having made it clear to investigators on Sunday that he has no intention of cooperating as he believes his actions are covered by attorney-client privilege. He is currently being held in the police lock-up in Abu Kabir, for fear that if released he might coordinate his testimony with other suspects.
Many is suspected of primary responsibility for setting up a series of shell companies, changing their names and opening bank accounts used in the alleged money laundering. In addition to being Lieberman's personal lawyer, he is also Yisrael Beiteinu's legal advisor.
Sharon Shalom, who is also under arrest, served as Lieberman's personal aide when the latter was national infrastructure minister and currently heads Yisrael Beiteinu's campaign on civilian affairs. Since mid-2004, however, he has also served as CEO of M.L. 1, a company set up and owned by Michal Lieberman, which has been a main focus of the investigation. Shalom is suspected of having carried out numerous financial transfers via various fictitious companies in which the money ultimately ended up in Avigdor Lieberman's possession.