Liberman resignation takes effect as indictment postponed

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Avigdor Liberman’s resignation as Israel’s foreign minister officially took effect, and Israel’s attorney general postponed filing an indictment for fraud and breach of trust against him. 

Liberman ceased being the country’s foreign minister on Tuesday morning, two days after he submitted his resignation. But he remains a member of the Knesset and the head of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party.

His resignation came days after Israeli Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein on Dec. 13 closed a 12-year investigation of Liberman, dismissing most of the charges. But Weinstein indicted Liberman for fraud and breach of trust for advancing former ambassador to Belarus Ze’ev Ben Aryeh’s position in the Foreign Ministry allegedly in exchange for information about an investigation against Liberman being conducted in Belarus. Last spring, Ben Aryeh confessed that he had received and passed documents to Liberman in 2008.

Also on Tuesday, Israel’s Justice Ministry announced that it would postpone filing the indictment against Liberman to the “coming days”; it had originally announced that the indictment would be filled Tuesday. No reason was given for the postponement.

A report on Channel 10 news Monday night reported that several members of a Foreign Ministry appointments panel were not questioned in the Ben Aryeh case, and that their knowledge could lead to new, more serious, charges against Liberman.

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