Israel’s FM Charged with Graft

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has been charged with fraud, money laundering and breach of trust, which could force the rightist Israeli politician to step down.

Israel’s Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said on Wednesday that he will announce his decision early next week on whether to file an indictment against Lieberman, Reuters reported.

If convicted, the head of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party would have to resign from his post, according to Weinstein.

The step-down of Lieberman, who is deemed as a senior coalition partner to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would seriously shake up Israel’s hawkish cabinet.

According to police statements, Lieberman and his associates have accepted bribes amounting to more than $1.2 billion from foreign magnates with business interests in Israel, the Justice Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

The money was allegedly laundered via a series of shell companies and fictitious bank accounts overseas, the statement explained.

It said that Lieberman and his confidants had tried to cover up these dealings “through methodical and protracted actions defrauding the public and national institutions.”

The Israeli foreign minister is also accused of trying to promote Tel Aviv’s ambassador to Belarus after the envoy provided him confidential information about police investigation against him back in the 1990s.

(Press TV)

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