After Israel Police gathered testimony from each member of the Foreign Ministry’s appointments committee, the findings of the investigation against Avigdor Lieberman over the promotion of a former Israeli ambassador to Belarus have been transferred to the State Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday.
In light of the new evidence, the Prosecutor’s Office is expected to add more serious charges to the indictment against the former foreign minister, claiming he actively promoted former ambassador Ze’ev Ben Aryeh’s appointment as ambassador to Latvia.
Lieberman, the leader of the rightist Yisrael Beiteinu party, has been indicted for fraud and breach of trust in the case.
On Tuesday investigators from Israel Police’s National Fraud Unit questioned Lieberman under caution for 40 minutes. Lieberman was confronted with testimony by his former deputy Danny Ayalon and members of the Foreign Ministry’s appointments committee, who claimed that he had a direct hand in the promotion of Ben Aryeh to the position of Ambassador in Latvia.
The original indictment included allegations that Lieberman failed to disclose to the appointments committee the fact that ambassador Ben Aryeh handed over confidential information about a police investigation regarding his affairs in Belarus.
Lieberman, who arrived at the NFU’s Lod headquarters mere hours after launching the Likud-Beiteinu election campaign with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told investigators he did not actively push for Ben Aryeh’s appointment.
The State Prosecutor’s Office is expected to reach a final decision on Thursday, but it appears that a harsher indictment will be filed. Should the prosecution file a more severe indictment, it will likely seek to attach moral turpitude to the charges.
A conviction involving moral turpitude would make it extremely difficult for Lieberman to serve as a minister again. He resigned from his ministerial position earlier this month.
Ben Aryeh reached a plea bargain with the Prosecutors’ Office and served four months’ community service for tipping off Lieberman that he was under official investigation.
Source: Ynet News