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Liberman indicted for fraud and breach of trust

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman was indicted on fraud and breach of trust while other cases against him were closed.

Liberman had been accused of laundering millions of shekels through straw companies, including while serving as a public official, and of obstructing the investigation into money laundering.

On Thursday, Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein closed a 12-year investigation of most of the charges. But he indicted Liberman for fraud and breach of trust for advancing former ambassador to Belarus Ze’ev Ben Aryeh’s position in the Foreign Ministry in exchange for information about the investigation against Liberman being conducted in Belarus. Last spring, Ben Aryeh confessed that he received and passed documents onto Liberman in 2008.

Liberman previously had committed to resigning from his Knesset position if he was indicted on the main case, but never mentioned the Ben Aryeh case. It is unclear if he will be required to resign if he is convicted.

Following the indictment, several political parties called for Liberman’s resignation.

Labor head Shelly Yacimovich called Liberman an "extreme and corrupt individual" and said he should resign immediately.

Meretz chairwoman Zahava Gal-On said that if Liberman would not voluntarily step down that she would appeal to the Supreme Court to compel him to quit.

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