Lieberman: Police Intimidation Drove Graft Suspect to Attempt Suicide

The Yisrael Beiteinu leader says the corruption investigation is an attempt by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to hurt his party politically.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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Lieberman, at a press conference in Jerusalem, December 2, 2014.
Lieberman, at a press conference in Jerusalem, December 2, 2014.Credit: Emil Salman
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Yisrael Beiteinu leader and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Saturday said the police are using intimidation tactics as part of an investigation into corruption within his party. The "extortion and threats," he said, have driven one of the subjects of the probe to attempt suicide.

Lieberman, who gave a talk in Kfar Saba, said the investigation is an attempt by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to hurt Yisrael Beiteinu politically.

Dozens of public officials have been detained in connection with the investigation, involving suspicions of illegal payment of funds to certain organizations, money laundering, granting improper personal favors, bribery and improper promotions allegedly provided to associates. The suspects include Yisrael Beiteinu Knesset member and Deputy Interior Minister Faina Kirshenbaum and fellow party member and former Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov.

Kirshenbaum had offered her resignation from the party on Friday, but then retracted it after being asked by the foreign minister to reconsider. In his talk on Saturday, Lieberman said he told Kirshenbaum not to give in to media pressure.

Lieberman said he believes that Kirshenbaum and the other suspects are innocent, and asserted that his party will do well in the upcoming election.

"They are trying to trample the party's dignity for the sixth time," he said, referring to previous probes. "I live with these investigations like I do with the weather. Like wind, or rain."

Lieberman also addressed the Palestinian request to join the International Criminal Court, saying that "the bid's significance shouldn't be exaggerated." He noted that the U.S., Russia, China and India aren't members of the court.

He levelled criticism at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's "invalid" foreign policy, saying that "When you sit around trying to preserve the status quo, others come up with initiatives."

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