Israeli minister resigns over indictment

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iol news pic 13 dec Mideast Israel Politics AP FILE - Former Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. (AP Photo/Amel Emric, File)

Jerusalem - Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Friday he will quit his post because of a pending indictment against him for fraud and breach of trust.

His announcement came a day after Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein announced his intention to prosecute Lieberman for allegedly receiving classified information from a former ambassador to Belarus on an investigation against him.

Lieberman said he was quitting even though his legal team said he did not have to. He has maintained he is innocent.

Weinstein closed the main case against Lieberman, for which he faced charges of money laundering, fraud and breach of trust, citing lack of clear-cut evidence.

In his initial reaction late Thursday to Weinstein's announcement, Lieberman left open the question of whether he would step down.

He had said a few years ago that he would resign if indicted, but on Thursday indicated he was referring to the main case against him, not the one for which he faces indictment.

Earlier Friday, opposition lawmaker Zahava Gal-on petitioned the High Court, asking it to order Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to fire Lieberman.

Gal-on's petition charged that Lieberman's alleged offences “violate the basic elements of integrity in public service, causing serious damage to the public's confidence in its elected officials and harming democracy.” - Sapa-dpa

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