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Ministry: Lieberman to face breach of trust charges

Dec. 13, 2012 4:51 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 15, 2012 12:33 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Reuters) -- Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will be indicted for fraud and breach of trust, charges that may lead him to resign, but the Justice Ministry dropped more serious corruption allegations in a nearly 12-year-old case.

The announcement comes just weeks before a Jan. 22 election in which the right-wing party of Lieberman and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is predicted to win.

Lieberman has denied all wrongdoing and said in the past he would resign if indicted, though it was unclear how he would now act since the charges he face are less severe than anticipated.

Lieberman is expected to speak later on Thursday.

The fraud and breach of trust charges centered on suspected cronyism in Lieberman's efforts to promote an Israeli diplomat who had leaked him privileged information about a separate police probe pertaining to Lieberman.

Legal experts say Lieberman may resign, following the precedent of other Israeli officials indicted for corruption in recent years, including former prime minister Ehud Olmert, who was acquitted of most of those charges this year.
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