Police Probing Company Founded by Liberman's Daughter

What does the international trading firm get paid for, and by whom?

Police are investigating the transfer of millions of shekels from abroad to the bank account of a company owned by the daughter of Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Liberman, based on a probe by Haaretz.

Over three years, NIS 7 million streamed from unknown sources abroad to the company owned exclusively by Michal Liberman, the Haaretz weekend magazine reports.

Michal Liberman, the lawmaker's oldest daughter, founded the firm, M.L.-1 International Trading, in July 2004, at age 21. It was a month after Liberman was fired from the Sharon government. At the time he remained without any position in government.

The company, still active today, was listed as based in Nokdim settlement, where MK Liberman resided. In its first five months, the company received NIS 1.8 million.

That same year, 2004, Liberman received wages of more than NIS 600,000 from the company. In contrast, his daughter and two other employees were paid much less, some NIS 100,000.

The probe reveals that MK Liberman, today also the deputy PM, received payment amounting to hundreds of thousands of shekels before being elected to the Knesset and appointed to the cabinet.

The National Fraud Squad received information regarding the company several months ago, and has begun investigating the money trail: who paid whonm for what services.

MK Liberman's media consultant, Yossi Levi, commented to Haaretz that the initiative behind the company had been Michal's, and that she had received backign and encouragement from her father.  He said that Michal ran the b business on the day to day level while Liberman handled business development.

"The company was counseling clients, mainly from outside the country. It supplied services to other firms involved in wine production, real estate and agriculture in Eastern Europe," Levi added. He said the companies with which it does business belong to childhood friends of Liberman, Jewish businessmen operating in Moldova and eastern Europe.