Israel's foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman questioned in fraud probe
Avigdor Lieberman, the controversial new Israeli foreign minister who leads an ultranationalist Right-wing party, was questioned by police for seven hours on Thursday over allegations of corruption.
The allegations against Avigdor Lieberman concerned the receipt of large sums of money from abroad allegedly channelled through shell companies and illegal bank accounts Photo: AFP
Less than 24 hours after the Israeli parliament voted in the country's new government, Mr Lieberman answered questions from detectives concerning allegations of bribery, fraud, money-laundering and breach of trust.
Corruption dogged the last Israeli government with the prime minister, justice minister and finance minister all forced to stand down after allegations of malpractice.
Israel's head of state, Moshe Katsav, was forced to resign as president and is now facing charges of rape and sexual harassment.
The allegations against Mr Lieberman concerned the receipt of large sums of money from abroad allegedly channelled through shell companies and illegal bank accounts.
The Israeli police issued only a brief statement confirming he had been questioned.
Mr Lieberman, whose political career began in the mid 1990s in Israel, has twice before been connected to allegations of fraud.
The fact the Israeli police questioned him so publicly and for such a long time after his confirmation as foreign minister has raised questions about the judgement of the new Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Mr Lieberman has already stirred political controversy by rejecting the Annapolis peace plan which is supported by America and the international community.
In a statement issued by his office, Mr Lieberman said he is "in a hurry to end this inquiry which has gone on for 13 years. The minister cooperated and answered the investigators' questions."
He has said that the allegations were politically motivated.
Mr Lieberman has been dogged by corruption allegations for years, but has never been charged. Police revived one probe just weeks before the election, but the move has only boosted his popularity as it was perceived as politically-motivated, according to pollsters.
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