$500,000 Funneled to Lieberman Associates

Three months after Avigdor Lieberman was appointed infrastructures minister in Ariel Sharon's cabinet, in May 2001, a company owned by businessman Michael Cherney, the so-called "Russian oligarch," transferred about $500,000 to a bank in Cyprus, Haaretz has learned. Shortly thereafter, the account was almost completely emptied, and hundreds of thousands of shekels were transferred to associates of Avigdor Lieberman. Cherney's attorney Yaakov Weinrot said the money was transferred by his client for a "wine deal."

At the beginning of the week, police questioned Lieberman, now deputy prime minister and strategic threats minister, regarding the Cyprus accounts. They are investigating whether the money reached Lieberman, and suspect that Lieberman may have undertaken financial dealings while in office, which is prohibited for MKs and ministers.

At the beginning of 2006, Attorney General Menachem Mazuz received bank statements of individuals and commercial enterprises which had been sent by a Cyprus law firm to Yoav Mani, Lieberman's attorney. Daniela Moratzis, head of the firm's commercial department wrote Mani that the statements were "about a common client."

One statement mentioned a mysterious company called View Mountain Assets, to whose Cypriot account $500,000 was transferred in May 2001 from a company named Mcg Holding, which belongs to Cherney. The money that went into the accounts of Lieberman's associates was registered as loans or returns of loans.