Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman cleared of corruption

By Daniel Easterman, November 6, 2013
Former Foreign Minister Lieberman (photo: Agência Brasil)

Former Foreign Minister Lieberman (photo: Agência Brasil)

Former Israeli foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has been acquitted of all fraud charges in a unanimous decision by a three-judge panel at Jerusalem's magistrate court.

In response to the verdict, Mr Lieberman said he was now ready to move on with his life. "I don't want to dwell on this issue any more; I want to put this chapter behind me.

“I want to thank my family and my friends who stood beside me… who believed in my innocence and lent me their support. I have no intention of dealing with this episode any more. I’ve put it behind me and I’m focusing on the challenges that await us," he said.

In December 2012, Mr Lieberman was accused of using his influence as foreign minister to promote former ambassador to Latvia Ze’ev Ben Aryeh to a higher diplomatic post. In return, it was alleged, Mr Ben Aryeh would provide Mr Lieberman with inside information on a corruption investigation against him in Belarus.

But in their summing up, the judges in Jerusalem deemed that there was "no proof of a sufficiently severe conflict of interests.

"After perusing the evidence on the matter, we’ve ruled that Ben Aryeh’s appointment didn’t constitute a promotion for him; nor was it a ‘springboard’ for other future senior positions,” the judges concluded.

Mr Lieberman, the firebrand Israeli politician renowned for his strident stance on a number of foreign policy issues, had been maintaining a low profile of late.

It is thought that he will now return to his position as Foreign Minister currently being held in an interim capacity by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Last updated: 10:04am, November 6 2013