Lieberman Allegedly Received Investigative Material From Former Ambassador to Belarus

The police fraud squad questioned Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman for two hours yesterday, on new suspicions of disrupting legal proceedings and breach of trust.

Police suspect that as early as October 2008, Lieberman received official police and Justice Ministry investigative material.

At that point, the probe into fraud and embezzlement allegations was still ongoing, and none of Lieberman's associates had been questioned or arrested.

Police suspect Israel's former ambassador to Belarus, Ze'ev Ben Aryeh, showed Lieberman secret documents from the investigation.

Ben Aryeh received the Justice Ministry documents via the Foreign Ministry in the summer of 2008. They contained a request for information from the Belarus authorities regarding a major investigation against Lieberman.

The envelope was stamped "secret," and contained a list of all suspicions against Lieberman, and substantial information about the evidence. The request focused on the details of bank accounts in Belarus, as well as information on the identities of the real owners of the accounts, which were mostly registered with local companies.

Ben Aryeh allegedly did not give the envelope to the Belarus authorities, and instead copied classified information and relayed it to Lieberman during his visit to the country in October 2008.

The questioning yesterday also focused on Ben Aryeh's employment and promotion at the Foreign Ministry over the past few months.

Ben Aryeh confirmed during questioning that he did open the envelope, kept some of the information and presented it to Lieberman.

Lieberman apparently told the investigators that he was given the information but rejected it, and thus claimed he did not see it or use it.

Lieberman's associates said last night that he did not commit any wrongdoings, and that the claims were overblown.

Lieberman is not likely to be questioned again in this case, and the police are expected to recommend that charges be brought against him in this matter as part of the overall indictment they have recommended.

State Prosecutor Moshe Lador said yesterday in an interview with Channel 1 television that the attorney general will decide soon whether to indict Lieberman.

"The investigation began two and a half years ago, and the material is complicated. Only recently did we receive the material, in various languages, and I hope we will make a decision soon. It is a matter of weeks until we decide whether he should be invited for a hearing, assuming the attorney general decides there are criminal suspicions," Lador said.

Last August the police announced that that they were recommending that Lieberman be charged with crimes including bribery, money laundering, fraud, disruption of legal proceedings and tampering with evidence.

Lieberman is suspected of setting up a series of front companies in order to embezzle more than NIS 10 million.