People close to the Likud leadership have told the Israeli police that the head of Yisrael Beiteinu, Avigdor Lieberman, has secret bank accounts overseas, Shehab news agency reported on Monday. According to Israeli news website Wallah, Lieberman did not disclose the existence of these accounts to the authorities.
Wallah said that the information was passed to the police following Lieberman’s refusal to back Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu in the formation of a coalition government. The former foreign minister has also apparently made public that he is planning to oust Netanyahu.
The information passed to the police is enough to open a criminal investigation into Lieberman’s finances, said Wallah. The extreme right-wing politician has previously been acquitted of similar allegations due to a lack of evidence. An investigation into such a public figure needs permission from the Public Prosecution Service, but the police can still start their own enquiries in the meantime.
Police officers refused to confirm or deny the claim about Lieberman, who appears to be the subject of a massive campaign to discredit him led by the Likud. Israeli journalist Yoav Yitzhak, the owner of News 1 website, which is close to Netanyahu, as well as the Prime Minister himself and his son Yair Netanyahu have all been attacking Lieberman on social media.
The intention, apparently, is to encourage a number of Yisrael Beiteinu MKs to leave the party and join the Likud in order to boost Netanyahu’s chances of returning to office following last week’s General Election stalemate.