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Lieberman arrives in court
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Photo: Gil Yohanan
Zeev Ben Aryeh
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Lieberman testifies in fraud trial

Former FM says he acted 'instinctively' when he destroyed note given to him by former ambassador Zeev Ben Aryeh regarding investigation into his financial dealings

Former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman testified at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Wednesday as part of his fraud and breach of trust trial.

 

The defense is trying to undermine the prosecution's attempt to prove that Lieberman was aware that former Ambassador Zeev Ben Aryeh was acting unlawfully by giving him a note containing information on an investigation against him in a Belarus hotel in 2008.

 

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”The whole event took no more than 3-5 minutes including courtesy talk. Ben Aryeh said he wanted to speak to me privately, handed me an envelope with a note inside it and said: 'Look at what's written there.' I did not initiate this exchange, nor was I prepared for it," Lieberman said in his testimony.

 

"You take a hand-written note and read it, and you don't understand what just happened. I see 'State of Israel: Lieberman criminal investigation.' It's like a lightning on a clear day, you act instinctively, you don't calculate your moves."


ליברמן בבית המשפט (צילום: גיל יוחנן)

Lieberman in court (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

 

According to Lieberman, he took the note, flushed it down the toilet and told Ben Aryeh, "It's all nonsense, it's not interesting, thank you" and then left the room together with the ambassador.

 

"I couldn’t study what was written there. Once I saw the note, it wasn't an issue any longer. Instinctively I thought there was damaging potential in it."

 

The former foreign minister was confronted with the testimony of former Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon who testified that Lieberman had instructed him to appoint Ben Aruyeh as an ambassador in Malta. Lieberman said of him, "He is a media obsessed person. I ordered that he be withheld access to any secret material as it would invariably find its way to the press."

 

Lieberman is accused of pushing Ben Aryeh's appointment to the post of ambassador in Latvia in 2004 without reporting the information he received from him during the nomination process.

 

Ben Aryeh was convicted of unauthorized disclosure of information and obstruction of justice as part of a plea bargain for tipping off Lieberman about details pertaining to an investigation into his financial dealings.

 

 

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פרסום ראשון: 05.29.13, 11:10
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