Israel’s ex-Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, is unlikely to return to politics due to a spate of new indictments against him, it is alleged. He is to be questioned again on charges connected to the reassignment of the former ambassador to Latvia, Zeev Ben Aryeh, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Monday.
According to the Israeli daily, new evidence against Lieberman arose after Ben Aryeh disclosed secret information about police investigations into Lieberman’s activities.
The Public Prosecutor and Ministry of Justice are studying a modification of Lieberman’s indictment. Members of the committee which approved Ben Aryeh’s appointment as Israel’s ambassador to Latvia are, it is claimed, also being questioned by the police. Initial information shows that at least one of the committee members pushed the choice of Ben Aryeh as an ambassador, the newspaper said.
The Israeli Ministry of Justice issued a statement saying, “Several days after the indictment announcement, media reports began to surface quoting anonymous sources and describing the Foreign Ministry appointments procedure. The reports suggested that Lieberman may have been involved in the ambassador’s appointment in a degree beyond what the indictment alleged. Following these reports and though they were not needed to establish an indictment, it was decided to investigate the new claims. Police have spent the past few days questioning the relevant parties.”
The ministry says that Lieberman, who has not responded to the new charges yet, is being given time to do so. “Before deciding whether to amend the indictment, it was decided to allow Lieberman to respond to the new information. It will be done as soon as possible. This is the reason there has been a delay in the filing of the indictment,” it said.
Ben Aryeh was asked by the Israeli authorities in February, 2008 to trace evidence in an investigation against Lieberman. However, although the demand was conveyed to him in the strictest confidence, Ben Aryeh disclosed it to Lieberman.
In October 2009, Ben Aryeh, who was Israel’s ambassador to Belarus, applied for the position of ambassador to Latvia; he was chosen from among ten other nominees.
Political analysts say that the more that this information about Lieberman is shown to be accurate, the more his chances of making a political comeback diminish.