State Prosecutor’s Office Split Over Whether or Not to Appeal FM Lieberman’s Acquittal

Attorney General Weinstein agrees with other prosecutors that the court’s verdict acquitting Lieberman was riddled with legal errors.

Revital Hovel
Revital Hovel
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Revital Hovel
Revital Hovel

The state prosecution’s economic department recommends appealing Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s acquittal, while the criminal department is against it, Haaretz has learned.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein is expected to decide the dispute after hearing the top prosecutors’ opinions on the chances of winning an appeal. He has called a meeting with the prosecutors for Sunday.

Lieberman left office in January 2010 after he was indicted on charges of fraud and breach of trust. He was charged with promoting an ambassador who had given him information about a police investigation being conducted against the foreign minister in Belarus, and failing to report the ambassador’s actions. Lieberman was acquitted earlier this month by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, which ruled that the state prosecution did not offer sufficient proof of its charges.

Weinstein, like the rest of the prosecutors, holds that the court’s verdict acquitting Lieberman is riddled with legal errors. These include the court’s acceptance of Lieberman’s later versions of events while rejecting earlier ones, which are seen by prosecutors as more authentic.

In his later version, Lieberman said in court that he did not know Ambassador Ze’ev Ben Aryeh had received the information required by the Israeli prosecution from the prosecution’s inquiry request and by means of his position as ambassador. Lieberman suggested, instead, that Ben Aryeh may have received the information through his connections with Belarus authorities.

If the prosecution appeals, it apparently would argue that Lieberman had not given that version to the police. As for the act itself – handing over sensitive information to a person being investigated (Lieberman) – there is no dispute: Lieberman knew Ben Aryeh had betrayed his duty and therefore he should not have promoted the ambassador to the position of his adviser and later to ambassador in Belarus.

Avigdor Lieberman after his acquittal.Credit: Emil Salman

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