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Avigdor Lieberman says he'll resign if indicted

The Israeli foreign minister is accused of fraud, money laundering, bribery, witness harassment and obstruction of justice. He says he hasn't done anything wrong.

August 04, 2009|Richard Boudreaux

JERUSALEM — Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that he would resign as Israel's foreign minister if the attorney general indicted him on corruption charges.

Speaking to reporters a day after police recommended an indictment, the ultranationalist leader denied any wrongdoing. "I am at peace with all my actions," he said.

In a written statement the previous day, he called the investigation politically motivated "judicial torture."

The police national fraud squad said it had sent the attorney general evidence of fraud, money laundering, bribery, witness harassment and obstruction of justice. According to Israeli media reports, police alleged that the minister set up front companies and bank accounts that enabled him to take in more than $3 million in unreported "consulting fees."

The inquiry covers 2000 to 2006, when Lieberman held three lesser Cabinet posts. Despite the probe, Lieberman led his party, Israel Is Our Home, to a strong third-place finish in national elections in February. His support enabled Benjamin Netanyahu to become prime minister of a right-leaning government in March.

A decision on an indictment is expected this year.

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boudreaux@latimes.com

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