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Israel's Lieberman Resigns

By       Message Stephen Lendman     Permalink
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Several times he said he'd resign as foreign minister, deputy prime minister, and Israeli Beiteinu party (Israel Our Home) leader. He'd only do it after a hearing if he agreed to one.

In spring 2011, reports suggested imminent graft charges. Police investigations and intelligence division head Yoav Segalovich recommended indictment. 

His case continued for over 18 months. Segalovich wanted him charged with bribery, fraud, money laundering, breach of trust, witness harassment, and obstruction of justice.

Police claimed he got over ten million New Israeli Shekels (NIS) in bribes from Martin Schlaff, Michael Chernoy, and other businessmen. He laundered the money through shell companies and fictitious overseas bank accounts.

Police also wanted him charged with breach of trust. It related to Israel's former Belarus ambassador, Ze'ev Ben Aryeh. He showed him secret documents pertaining to his own potential indictment. 

They contained evidence against him. Lieberman secured his appointment in return for services rendered.

At the time, negotiations with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein sought to get bribery accusations dropped. Money laundering carries 10 years in prison. 

Conviction on all charges assures many more. For one of Israel's worst, life without parole would be too lenient.

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On December 13, Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said investigations into charges of bribery, fraud, money laundering, breach of trust, harassing witnesses, and perhaps other criminality ended.

Major accusations were dropped. Fraud and breach of trust remained. Lieberman's a serial felon. Clear evidence exists. Weinstein claimed otherwise. 

At the same time, he said "suspicions against Lieberman's series of intricate and intertwined, underhanded actions cannot be ruled out."

Suspicions after years of investigations assure new charges won't follow. Lieberman is largely off the hook. No Israeli except Netanyahu is less deserving. 

Lieberman denied wrongdoing. What else would he say? He charged police and prosecutors with witch-hunt justice. He vowed to clear his name.

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Reports suggest he'll seek plea bargain leniency. It won't be the first time. His decision followed legal advice.

He wasn't forced to resign. He did so ahead of upcoming elections. Convicted felons don't help their party or coalition partner.

He'll seek reelection, nonetheless. "I believe that the citizens of the State of Israel are entitled to go to the polling stations after this matter is resolved," he said.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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