Israeli FM to step down if charged
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday he would resign if charged over corruption.
Israeli police Sunday recommended an indictment of Lieberman, who leads Israel’s second largest party in the government coalition, Yisrael Beitenu (Israel Our Home). Police say he could face a maximum sentence of 31 years in prison if convicted.
Lieberman has, however, denied allegations of misconduct. “The police fraud investigation unit has recommended the indictment of Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on charges of bribery, money laundering and obstruction of justice,” an Israeli official told reporters.
Responding to allegations, Lieberman said, “There was no real reason to open investigations against me, and if the suspicions had any foundation the investigation would not have continued for over a decade.”
“For 13 years now the police have been persecuting me, and as my political strength and the strength of Yisrael Beitenu have grown, the attempts to drive me from public activities have gathered pace,” he added.
On Monday, Lieberman promised, “If the attorney general decides to submit an indictment, then there is no doubt that at that moment I will resign.” He did, however, express optimism adding, “I am convinced that next year, and in two years too, I will still be foreign affairs minister.”
The outspoken Lieberman became Israel’s foreign minister in March after his party took third place in a general election. He has drawn wide criticism from the Arab world that has described him as an “obstacle to peace.”