Yair Netanyahu, son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Thursday morning that his father caved to Avigdor Lieberman's demand to appoint an attorney general who would exonerate him from his criminal charges as part of coalition negotiations in 2009.
In response to Haaretz Publisher Amos Schocken, who had tweeted an article charging that the prime minister chose Yehuda Weinstein as attorney general in order to draw out and close cases against Lieberman, Yair tweeted: "I'll give you a scoop. This was [Lieberman's] most important coalition demand in 2009."
As for his father, who appointed Weinstein to the post in 2010, Yair said that "He had no choice."
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From 2001 to 2008, Lieberman allegedly received hundreds millions of dollars from foreign businessmen while serving as a Knesset member and minister. Lieberman had declared that he sold his interests in the shell companies when he returned from a political hiatus in 2006, but prosecutors found that he continued to receive large sums of money. He was also accused of trying to promote Ze'ev Ben Aryeh, Israel's ambassador to Belarus, after he handed Lieberman confidential information about a judicial inquiry by the police into Lieberman's activities in Belarus.
He was charged with money laundering, fraud and breach of trust. In December 2013, after an investigation spanning 12 years, then-Attorney General Weinstein acquitted Lieberman of money laundering, instead indicting him on lesser charges of fraud and breach of trust, the latter pertaining to the Belarus case. Weinstein closed the case, citing insufficient evidence. Then-State Prosecutor Moshe Lador believed that Lieberman should have been indicted, but acknowledged the legal complexities and difficulties of bringing in overseas witnesses and evidence.
After Yair Netanyahu's tweet, Weinstein told Haaretz that "it is below me to respond to such things, but this is nonsense." He added, “I don’t know the prime minister’s son, but I have the impression that he has seen better days."
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Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party responded harshly. “Since 1999 and until today, we have never raised any request in coalition negotiations concerning the choice of an attorney general. The latest claim is a new zenith in lies and paranoia from the school of the Prime Minister’s Bureau and those close to him. We recommend Likud headquarters urgently bring onboard a well-known psychiatrist with proven experience."
A spokesman for the Netanyahu family responded to the claims as well, saying that in 2009, “Yair was a high school student who was not involved at all in political matters. The response to Amos Shocken is based on things that were said in the public dialogue in 2015."
Meretz Chairwoman Tamar Zandberg requested that Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit open an investigation into Lieberman and Netanyahu based on Yair's online testimony.