Former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman denied on Tuesday morning reports that his former deputy had provided police with damning information against him. These "rumors," said Lieberman, who is being investigated for fraud and breach of trust, were an attempt to "throw dust in the public's eyes."
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"Over the past 24 hours, the media has been flooded with various, strange leaks and rumors that have no basis in reality," said Lieberman, who quit his post in light of the intention to indict him for fraud and breach of trust. "I would like to emphasize that all these 'rumors and quotes' that were allegedly made by me or my 'associates' on claims that I will allegedly make to the police, or slander other people, never were and never existed, and the only purpose [of these 'rumors'] is to manipulate – and not in a particularly sophisticated way – to disrupt the proceedings, and to throw dust in the public's eyes. Everything I have to say will be said upon the completion of the investigation at the police and in court," he said.
Lieberman was responding to reports by Channel 10 and Channel 2 on Monday evening that deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon had provided police with information that it found helpful in the investigation of Lieberman. The investigation in question is that which was renewed on Sunday after the attorney general had said earlier this month that he would indict Lieberman on charges of fraud and breach of trust in the case concerning Israel's former ambassador to Belarus.
According to the television reports, Ayalon's testimony further complicated Lieberman's situation, but Ayalon’s office denied this, claiming “he was never questioned by police.”
Ayalon, who headed the Foreign Ministry’s selection committee for diplomats and was recently removed by Lieberman from Yisrael Beiteinu’s leadership, reportedly told police that the foreign minister was active in appointing former ambassador to Belarus Ze’ev Ben Aryeh to ambassador to Latvia. This reportedly occurred despite that Lieberman allegedly concealed that he was briefed by the former Belarus ambassador about an investigation in that country against him.
According to the television news reports on Monday night, it seems that testimonies of selection committee members appeared to strengthen Ayalon’s version. Both reports mentioned that Ofer Avidan, Israeli consul in Atlanta who also hoped to be appointed ambassador to Latvia, understood very early that he didn’t stand a chance.
Lieberman denies having pushed for Ben Aryeh's appointment as ambassador to Latvia after the Belarus incident. In his investigation, the former foreign minister said he did not remember discussing the appointment with Ayalon.
After announcing that it was reopening the case, the Justice Ministry called in additional witnesses to provide testimonies. It has been reported that prosecutors may add more serious charges to the indictment against the former foreign minister and Yisrael Beiteinu chairman.
Lieberman will face further rounds of questioning in the matter over the course of this week.