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November 6, 2013 9:27 am

Lieberman Acquitted, Will Return to Foreign Ministry

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Former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Photo: wiki commons. In a unanimous verdict, a three-judge panel on Wednesday acquitted former Israeli foreign minister and Yisrael Beiteinu party chairman Avigdor Lieberman of corruption charges, Israel Hayom reported.

“I congratulate you on your acquittal and I am pleased with your return to the Israeli cabinet so that we can continue to work together for the benefit of Israel,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who on Sunday will ask his cabinet to reinstate Lieberman as foreign minister.

Lieberman was accused of fraud and breach and trust. An indictment said that in 2009, he used his clout at the foreign ministry to promote former Israeli ambassador to Belarus Ze’ev Ben Aryeh to Israeli ambassador to Latvia. A year earlier, Ben Aryeh supplied Lieberman with a document containing sensitive information on the Israel Police’s investigation into possible crimes committed by Lieberman. But Lieberman claimed he did not ask for the document and immediately disposed of it upon realizing it contained privileged correspondence.

“As for the appointment of Ben Aryeh as ambassador to Latvia, the prosecution could not establish that the defendant made any effort to appoint him; choosing Ben Aryeh was made properly, he had the necessary qualifications and was a natural choice; he did not need the defendant’s help,” the judges said in their verdict. “Ben Aryeh’s appointment could not be described as a promotion.”

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