Ben Arieh indicted for alleged leak to Liberman (JERUSALEM POST) By JOANNA PARASZCZUK 05/01/12)
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The State Attorney´s Office for Economic Affairs filed an indictment
in the Jerusalem Magistrate´s Court on Tuesday, charging a former
ambassador with counts of disclosure in breach of duty and
obstruction of justice.
Zeev Ben Arieh, who served as Israel´s ambassador to Belarus between
2004-2009, is alleged to have disclosed confidential information to
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman in 2008 regarding a request by
Israeli police to the Belarusian authorities for assistance in a
criminal investigation into Liberman, who at the time was an MK.
The state attorney´s office said that attorney-general, Yehuda
Weinstein, approved the indictment, which was filed after Ben Arieh
testified in a hearing in the state attorney´s office. The indictment
was filed alongside a notice of a plea bargain agreement reached by
According to the indictment, Ben Arieh was responsible for handling
requests regarding the transfer of legal assistance between Israeli
and Belarusian law enforcement authorities.
The indictment charges that in February 2008, Ben Arieh received a
request the Israeli police had sent to the Israeli Embassy in Belarus
for assistance relating to the criminal investigation into Foreign
Minister Avigdor Liberman, who at the time served as an MK.
The police asked that the request be referred to the Belarusian
judicial authorities, the indictment said.
According to the indictment, Liberman visited Belarus in October
2008, and met with Ben Arieh.
During that meeting, Ben Arieh allegedly told Liberman about the
request for legal assistance, and gave him various details about it,
including in writing.
The indictment said Ben Arieh exploited the trust placed in him as an
ambassador, and have information to Liberman without lawful
authority. Liberman, the indictment continued, was not authorized to
receive that information, especially in the light of his status as
the suspect about which the Israeli authorities had filed a case.
The indictment also noted that Ben Arieh notified Liberman about the
Israeli police´s application, knowing it was confidential, and that
his actions had been intended to obstruct the criminal investigation
According to that plea bargain, Ben Arieh agreed to plead guilty to
charges of disclosure in breach of duty and obstruction of justice.
The parties agreed to ask for a sentence of four to six months´
community service and a probationary sentence to be determined by the
Meanwhile, the attorney-general, Yehuda Weinstein, announced late
Monday night that a decision in the probe into Foreign Minister
Avigdor Liberman is expected ´within weeks´.
Weinstein informed Liberman in April last year that he planned to
indict him, pending a hearing, on charges of fraud, breach of trust,
fraudulent receipt, money-laundering and witness harassment.
Liberman is suspected of receiving millions of dollars from private
business people, through straw companies, between the years 2001 and
2008, while he was a member of Knesset and a cabinet minister.
In a hearing in February, Liberman´s lawyers testified that the
foreign minister had no connection to illegally obtained funds or
straw companies that allegedly funneled that money.
They also said there is no proof that Liberman ran straw companies
before beginning his political career. According to his defense, the
Liberman was involved in "real companies" in the wine and wood trade.
In a written response to a query by the Movement for Quality
Government, Weinstein said that following hearings in January and
February, his office expected to receive written arguments on a
number of issues from Liberman´s defense team.
Following that, Weinstein said a decision would be made within the
next few weeks.
Regarding reports of an early election, Weinstein referred to
guidelines set down in Directive 1.1913 of the attorney general´s
office on the issue of prosecutions prior to elections, and said that
Liberman´s case will be conducted as per usual. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 05/01/12)
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