State Prosecutor Moshe Lador
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg

Lador: Lieberman case was viable

Contrary to AG's preference to close criminal case against foreign minister, state prosecutor says conviction could have been secured

State Prosecutor Moshe Lador believed that the State has a solid case against Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and should pursue a criminal indictment against him, Ynet learned on Sunday.


Last week, sources in Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein's office said that the AG is likely to close the case against Lieberman, who was investigated for alleged fraud, money laundering, breach of trust and fraudulently obtaining benefits.


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The State had originally planned to attach an "aggravated circumstances" clause to the latter charge.


Upon making the decision to close the case final, the AG is expected to release a brief explaining the decision. Legalists believe Weinstein is likely to cite difficulties to meet the burden of proof necessary for a criminal trial.


Lador's legal opinion in the case, however, seems to be different as he – and others in the State Prosecutor's Office – believed that the State could secure a conviction in the case.


Lador, and other senior sources in the legal system, have made no secret of their frustration in prosecuting criminal and corruption cases against high-ranking public officials.


Gathering evidence and securing witness testimonies against such officials, especially ones who are still in office, often proves immensely difficult, legal sources said.


Lador himself noted that in such high-profile cases, "Witnesses blunder on the stand… They fail to remember things all of a sudden, painting a different picture for the court than they did during their police deposition."


Another major hurdle was that of deposing witnesses who live overseas and gathering evidence outside Israel. Such procedures require the cooperation of local authorities in those countries and is very time consuming, he noted.


Lador further said that in Israel, such investigations and subsequent trials usually take longer than they do overseas: "At the end of the day, you look back and try to remember when (the investigation) started and you find yourself saying 'That's totally unacceptable.' It's very hard to explain it."


Still, while the foreign minister may escape serious criminal charges, sources in the State Prosecutor's Office said it is likely that he will be indicted on a lesser charge of breach of trust involving the promotion of former Israeli ambassador to Belarus Ze'ev Ben Aryeh.




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פרסום ראשון: 12.02.12, 21:08
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