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Avigdor Lieberman
Photo: Alex Kolomoisky
Lieberman to be questioned again
Legal proceedings against ex-FM unlikely to be completed prior to elections; State may revise indictment in case of appointment of Ambassador Ben Aryeh

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is set to be summoned for further questioning in the case of the appointment of former Ambassador Zeev Ben Aryeh. Police are currently questioning the members of the committee that approved the Ben Aryeh's appointment as Israel's ambassador to Latvia.

 

It appears that at least one of the committee members stated that Lieberman had pushed for Ben Aryeh's nomination. Such testimony could introduce harsher charges in the indictment. In any case, the chances of a swift trial now seem very unlikely.

 

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A statement on behalf of the Justice Ministry said, "Several days after the indictment announcement, media reports began to surface quoting anonymous sources and describing the Foreign Ministry appointments procedure.

 

"The reports suggested that Lieberman may have been involved in the ambassador's appointment in a degree beyond what the indictment alleged.

 

"Following these reports and though they were not needed to establish an indictment, it was decided to investigate the new claims. Police have spent the past few days questioning the relevant parties.

 

"Before deciding whether to amend the indictment, it was decided to allow Mr. Lieberman to respond to the new information. It will be done as soon as possible. This is the reason there has been a delay in the filing of the indictment."

 

Lieberman and Ben Aryeh

According to the indictment, Lieberman and Ben Aryeh, who served as Israel's ambassador to Belarus in 2004-2009, were acquainted. In February 2008, Ben Aryeh was asked by Israeli authorities to trace evidence in an investigation against Lieberman.

 

He later disclosed this request to Lieberman despite the fact it was conveyed to him in the strictest of confidence.

 

Several months later, Ben Aryeh applied to the position of the ambassador in Latvia. He consulted on the matter with Lieberman who agreed he should apply for the position. In October 2009 he appeared before the Foreign Ministry's nominations committee which chose him out of 10 possible nominees.

 

Lieberman, according to the State Prosecutor's Office, did not inform the committee of Ben Aryeh's disclosure of confidential information.

 

Last October, the former ambassador was sentenced to four months of community service after having been convicted of obstructing justice and passing information to an unauthorized person under a plea bargain.

 

Last week, it was reported that the members of the Foreign Ministry nominations committee have yet to be questioned.

 

 

 

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