Page last updated at 10:07 GMT, Monday, 3 August 2009 11:07 UK

Lieberman vows to quit if charged

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

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said he will stand down if charged over corruption allegations.

On Sunday police recommended that he should face charges. The decision on whether to pursue the case now rests with the attorney general.

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

The allegations against Mr Lieberman relate bribery, money-laundering and obstructing justice.

I am convinced that next year, and in two years too, I will still be foreign affairs minister
Avigdor Lieberman

"[If the attorney general] decides to indict me after hearing me out, I will step down as foreign minister and within the next four or five months I will quit as a member of parliament," Mr Lieberman said.

But he added: "I am convinced that next year, and in two years too, I will still be foreign affairs minister."

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, 51, 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.

The Moldovan-born politician advocates swapping swathes of Israeli-Arab populated territory in Israel with Israeli settlement blocs in the West Bank.

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

He leads Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) - 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 went to Israel after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

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