Ex-ambassador who shared intel with Lieberman convicted (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Itamar Fleishman Published: 05.21.12, 15:09)
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Zeev Ben-Aryeh convicted within framework of plea bargain for leaking
information to foreign minister regarding criminal investigation
Jerusalem Court Justice Hagit Mack-Kalmanovitch on Monday convicted
Israel´s former ambassador to Belarus, Zeev Ben-Aryeh within the
framework of a plea bargain for leaking information to Foreign
Minister Avigdor Lieberman regarding the investigation against him.
The court is set to sentence Ben-Aryeh, who was convicted of breach
of duty and disruption of legal proceedings. The prosecution is
seeking six months of community service.
Lieberman is also being investigated for fraud and breach of trust.
According to police, in 1998 Zeev Ben Aryeh, while serving as
Israel´s ambassador to Belarus, relayed to Lieberman secret details
about the ongoing investigation against him, which the envoy had
received as part of his official function.
When the affair was exposed, Lieberman criticized then-Police
Commissioner Dudi Cohen, and petitioned the High Court to reopen a
case from 2008 involving police leaks from investigations.
"They warn me to remain silent while the police commissioner tells
all and twists the story… it was the mother and father of all
obstructions of justice," said Lieberman.
Meanwhile, the former ambassador responded to the suspicions by
claiming that the envelope containing the classified information was
already open when it reached him.
"According to what I learned in the Foreign Ministry, the ambassador
is not a mailman and cannot relay anything without knowing what it
contains. But I received an open envelope. In it there was also a
letter addressed to me, so I couldn´t pass it on without reading it
first," he said.
When asked in an interview if he gave Lieberman the information he
responded: "There is an asymmetry (in the police´s claims). I cannot
comment, as I am under investigation. There are many discrepancies
and many things which I am supposedly guilty of that have nothing to
do with this (affair)."
The former ambassador accused police of purposely blowing the affair
out of proportion. "I little fly has been made into a giant elephant,
so that the elephant will cover up the other developments," he said.
Police noted that they managed to reach Ben-Aryeh in a relatively
short period of time thanks to intelligence they received. Ben-Aryeh
then confessed to the charges. He told investigators how he passed
the investigation information to Lieberman thus strengthening the
evidence against the foreign minister in order to indict him.
(Copyright 2012 © Yedioth Internet 05/21/12)
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