Avigdor Lieberman
Photo: Mati Elmaliach
Zeev Ben-Arieh
Photo: Ata Awisat

Police: Indict FM in 'ambassador affair'

National Fraud Unit recommends charging Lieberman for obstruction of justice following information that he obtained copy of classified information from investigation against him from former envoy to Belarus

The police have recommended indicting Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and former Israeli Ambassador to Belarus Zeev Ben-Arieh. The police said Monday that the file had been transferred to the State Prosecutor's Office, which will decide whether to file the indictments.


An aide to the foreign minister dismissed the police's announcement, saying that "past experience shows that the police's hasty recommendations speak for themselves, so there is no reason to get excited."


Lieberman was questioned by the police three months ago on suspicions of obstruction of justice and breach of trust, following information indicating he obtained a copy of classified information from an investigation held against him.


The former ambassador– who served until the affair was revealed as the legal advisor in Lieberman's office - confessed to police that he received and passed on the sensitive documents to Lieberman in October 2008. According to the investigators, Ben-Arieh responded to all of their questions.


Police sources told Ynet that the investigation yielded solid information according to which Lieberman's conduct could not be interpreted in any other way. "There is strong evidence in this case. Lieberman received, in practice, the core details of the investigation against him – before being summoned."


Sources at the Nation Fraud Unit's Lahav-443 squad said that the police managed to reach Ben-Arieh within a short time, and that he confessed to the suspicions. He told the investigators that he had transferred the investigation material to Lieberman, strengthening the evidence against the foreign minister.


The top police brass was said to be stunned after National Fraud Unit investigators revealed the Lieberman was aware of the ongoing leg of the investigation in Belarus.


"Our entire Belarus probe was transparent to him," a police source told Ynet. "This wasn’t just a single document, but a series of papers revealing the whole of the investigation."


According to police suspicions, during the period Lieberman was serving as a Knesset member, Ben-Arieh received a request to transfer a document directly and discreetly from the Justice Ministry in Jerusalem to the authorities in Belarus regarding Lieberman's investigation.


The document was first handed to the Justice Ministry by Israel Police. It contained a request for legal assistance from the certified authorities in Belarus and outlined significant details regarding the investigation, including issues for which assistance was requested.


The ambassador reportedly copied the classified information detailed in the request ahead of Lieberman's visit to Belarus a year and a half ago. He then informed Lieberman of the request and illegally passed it on to him when the two met during the said visit.


פרסום ראשון: 05.24.10, 18:25
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