State Attorney’s Office to decide Liberman’s fate within a month

State Attorney’s Office to decide Liberman’s fate within a month

Decision to be made on whether to press charges against foreign minister for allegedly receiving millions of dollars in bribes

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Avigdor Liberman (photo credit: Yoav Ari Dudkevitch/Flash90)
Avigdor Liberman (photo credit: Yoav Ari Dudkevitch/Flash90)

The State Attorney’s Office notified the High Court on Thursday that it will decide within a month whether or not to bring charges against Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman for allegedly receiving bribes.

The notification came in response to a court petition by the Movement for Quality Government in Israel demanding that the Attorney General and the State Attorney’s Office decide whether they will press charges before or after the forthcoming January general elections.

In her response to the court, state attorney Meytal Buchman-Shindel wrote that the Liberman case was complicated and required dozens of interviews both in Israel and abroad. In addition, thousands of documents have been seized that require review.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced that he planned to indict Liberman more than a year ago, and has since then held several hearings with the Yisrael Beytenu chairman’s lawyers.

Police began investigating Liberman in 2006 and in 2008 recommended an indictment following a review of evidence that dated back more than a decade. Liberman is accused of establishing several companies that laundered millions of dollars, much of which made its way into his pockets.

Liberman denies the allegations, claiming they constitute a political witch-hunt, and points to the extended period of the investigation as proof that there is no real evidence against him. He has repeatedly said that he would resign from the Knesset if indicted.

Last month the former envoy to Belarus, Ze’ev Ben Aryeh, was sentenced to four months’ community service after being found guilty of breach of public trust and obstruction justice.

As part of a plea bargain, Ze’ev Ben Aryeh admitted passing classified Justice Ministry documents related to the investigation to his boss Liberman in 2008.

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