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Israel to charge former minister

JERUSALEM — Israel’s Justice Ministry sought an indictment against former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman in a Jerusalem court on Sunday, charging him with breach of trust and fraud.

Lieberman is accused of trying to advance the career of a former diplomat after the envoy relayed information to him about a criminal investigation into the former foreign minister’s business dealings.

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The Justice Ministry released a draft indictment on Dec. 13. On Sunday, an amended version was filed in the Jerusalem Magistrates Court after prosecutors received testimony suggesting he was more deeply involved than thought in trying to promote the diplomat. The actual charges were not changed.

Lieberman, who denies any wrongdoing, resigned his Cabinet post earlier this month after he was informed of the pending charges, though he remains a member of Parliament. He did not appear in court on Sunday and had no comment on the indictment.

The diplomat he tried to promote, former ambassador to Belarus Zeev Ben-Aryeh, reached a plea bargain earlier this year.

The indictment did not address the main suspicions against Lieberman that were the focus of a years-long investigation. Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein ultimately decided that prosecutors did not have a strong enough case to charge Lieberman with illicitly receiving millions of dollars from businessmen and laundering the cash through straw companies in eastern Europe.

Lieberman’s political future could be compromised if the court that hears the case decides to convict him of a crime that carries what is known in Israeli law as ‘‘moral turpitude.’’ Lawmakers convicted of such crimes must resign immediately from Parliament, then are barred from reentering politics for seven years.

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