UPDATE-Avigdor Lieberman Resigns As Israel’s Foreign Minister After Indictment

UPDATE-Avigdor Lieberman Resigns As Israel’s Foreign Minister After Indictment

Israel’s Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, submitted his resignation Friday afternoon, ending speculation about whether he would fight to stay in office while fighting fraud charges. He continued to assert his innocence and stressed that he did not believe he was legally compelled to quit.

“Today, I held meetings with my lawyers and members of my campaign staff,” Lieberman said in a statement, published in English by Arutz Sheva. “The legal opinion I received states that I do not, in light of the circumstances of the case and the details of the indictment, have to resign from my government position.”

“Although I know I have not violated any laws, out of a desire that after so many years of legal proceedings, investigations and wiretaps against me I can also put the matter that remains behind me, I decided to resign my position as Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister and as I announced yesterday also to remove my parliamentary immunities immediately.
He added that he hoped a legal decision in his case would come before the elections in January.
Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein Thursday closed a 12-year money laundering investigation against Lieberman, but decided to indict him for fraud and breach of trust in a lesser case.

The Moldova-born Lieberman, the head of the Yisrael Beitenu party aligned with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, had been accused of routing millions of shekels through straw companies, including while serving as a public official, and of obstructing the investigation into money laundering.

Weinstein announced his decision to indict Liberman for fraud and breach of trust for advancing former ambassador to Belarus Ze’ev Ben Aryeh’s position in the Foreign Ministry in exchange for information about the investigation against him being conducted in Belarus. Last spring, Ben Aryeh confessed that he received and passed documents onto Liberman in 2008.


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