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Liberman Steps Down as FM But Indictment Postponed

Yisrael Beytenu leader – and just-stepped-down Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman – is in legal limbo, with his anticipated indictment delayed at the last minute.

Analysts say the move may have been taken in order for the State Prosecutor’s Office to interview additional witnesses from the Foreign Ministry appointments panel regarding the appointment of former ambassador to Belarus Ze’ev Ben-Aryeh.

The indictment is expected any day, though initial reports stated it would be filed on Tuesday.

Charges will include fraud and breach of public trust.  Liberman has denied any wrongdoing and expressed outrage that the State continues to threaten him with indictments that never materialize.

Other reports indicate that indictments may have been postponed so that a plea bargain could be formulated.  The state has said it would not back down from “moral turpitude” charges, which could force Liberman out of politics for more than seven years.

Liberman has said that his criminal conduct involved not coming forward with the illegal passing of classified information to him from Ben-Aryeh in 2008.

The information was a Justice Ministry document requesting legal assistance from Belarus in investigations against Liberman.  Ben-Aryeh was convicted in May of obstruction of justice.

About the Author: Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.


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