Ex-Israeli FM Lieberman formally indicted

Dec. 30, 2012 at 8:01 AM
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JERUSALEM, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- Two weeks after Avigdor Lieberman resigned as Israel's foreign minister, a court Sunday officially indicted him on updated fraud and breach of trust charges.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein had presented the Knesset with the updated version of the draft charges against the former foreign minister Thursday and filed them in Jerusalem's Magistrates Court Sunday morning, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Lieberman issued a statement denying any wrongdoing, the newspaper said.

Ynetnews reported the final indictment differs from the initial draft in that it more aggressively pursues the moral turpitude clause, which could preclude Lieberman from holding office again if convicted.

The main change in the indictment refers to his alleged involvement in helping Ze'ev Ben-Aryeh, a former ambassador to Belarus, to be appointed ambassador to Latvia, the Post said. It also claimed Ben-Aryeh illegally leaked to Lieberman information concerning a criminal investigation against him, the newspaper said.

The charges come less than a month before Israel's general elections and after Lieberman merged his Yisrael Beitenu party with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud party to form the joint Likud-Beitenu list.

Two weeks ago, Lieberman stepped down as foreign minister and waived his parliamentary immunity, the Post said.

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