Liberman to be questioned again

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Former Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Liberman will be questioned again in connection with allegations that he advanced the position of Israel’s former ambassador to Belarus in exchange for information on an investigation against him.

Liberman resigned last week as foreign minister, although he remains a member of the Knesset and the head of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party.

His resignation came days after Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein on Dec. 13 closed a 12-year investigation of Liberman, dismissing most of the charges. But Weinstein said he would file an indictment of Liberman for fraud and breach of trust for advancing former ambassador to Belarus Ze’ev Ben Aryeh’s position in the Foreign Ministry allegedly in exchange for information about an investigation against Liberman being conducted in Belarus. Last spring, Ben Aryeh confessed that he had received and passed documents to Liberman in 2008.

The filing of the indictment was then postponed after a report on Israel’s Channel 10 news that several members of a Foreign Ministry appointments panel were not questioned in the Ben Aryeh case, and that their knowledge could lead to new, more serious, charges against Liberman.

Police are currently questioning the members of the committee, which approved Ben Aryeh’s appointment as Israel’s ambassador to Latvia, Ynet reported. One committee member allegedly said that Liberman pushed for the appointment to go through, according to Ynet.

A hearing also will be set to allow Liberman to respond to the charges. 

The further questioning and hearings mean that it is unlikely that the case will go to trial before a new government is formed after the Jan. 22 elections. Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party is running on a joint candidates’ list with the ruling Likud Party.

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