Page last updated at 15:02 GMT, Sunday, 2 August 2009 16:02 UK

Police 'to pursue' Lieberman case

Avigdor Lieberman, leader of Yisrael Beiteinu
Mr Lieberman says the police inquiry is politically motivated

Israeli police have recommended that the country's ultra-nationalist Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman should face corruption charges, media reports say.

The police say that Mr Lieberman should be charged with offences including corruption, embezzlement and money-laundering, sources say.

The police probe has been under way for the past 13 years.

Mr Lieberman has consistently denied any wrong-doing and says the inquiry is politically motivated.

If they have real evidence, the investigation would not have taken more than 10years
Avigdor Lieberman

A final decision on whether to press charges will now be taken by Israel's most senior legal official, the attorney general.

In a statement, Mr Lieberman said: "The police have been chasing me for 13 years now.

"If they have real evidence, the investigation would not have taken more than 10 years. There is no basis for this indictment."

The accusations are believed to relate to a company run by Mr Lieberman's daughter.

In April - days after being sworn in as foreign minister - Mr Lieberman faced more than seven hours of police questioning over the allegations against him.


The appointment of the outspoken Mr Lieberman had already been seen as controversial.

He has previously said that Israel is not bound by a US-sponsored agreement from 2007 to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians, and that Israeli-Arab MPs who met Hamas should be executed like Nazi collaborators after the Nuremburg trials.

Palestinian officials have described him as an "obstacle to peace".

He leads Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home), which is the second-largest party in the governing coalition and the third-largest in parliament.

The party draws much of its support from the one million Jews who came to Israel after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

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