Police Question Lieberman Over Allegedly Illegal Funding of Primaries

Police probe Strategic Threats Min.'s Cyprus accounts, suspect impropriety in funding of 1999 Yisrael Beiteinu primaries.

Police questioned Strategic Threats Minister and chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu Avigdor Lieberman Sunday morning over allegations of illegal funding during the 1999 party primaries.

Lieberman was summoned for questioning after an investigation revealed suspicious bank accounts, owned by the minister, in Cyprus. Investigators have been trying to follow the transactions made by Lieberman and see whether they correlate with transactions made by relevant Israeli figures.

In addition to the private accounts, the State Prosecutor's office has asked police to look into an account owned by a company previously linked to Lieberman.

Lieberman's media consultant, Yossi Levi, said Sunday that during the past year, Lieberman has requested four times to be questioned over this matter in order to clear his name. The first request was made of Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, shortly after the elections, when Mazuz decided that Lieberman could not serve in a position responsible for enforcing law, and was therefore barred from being appointed public security minister. Lieberman approached Mazuz in a fourth request to be questioned only a few days ago.

Senior police officials criticized the fact that the investigation has been underway for too long, without producing any conclusions. However, new information has been uncovered in recent months, and subsequently the police decided to continue the investigation, in Cyprus as well as locally.

Lieberman expressed sincere hope that Sunday's questioning would prove his innocence and that he would finally be able to put the affair behind him.