[credit provider=”Wikimedia Commons” url=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Avigdor_Lieberman_-_2011.jpg”]
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, one of Israel’s most divisive politicians, has resigned after being charged with fraud and breach of trust, the BBC reports.The charges stem from the promotion of an Israeli diplomat who leaked privileged information about a police investigation.
Lieberman, who also resigned as deputy prime minister, has said he now hopes to clear his name from a number of long running financial and corruption scandals.
“Though I know I committed no crime … I have decided to resign my post as foreign minister and deputy prime minister,” he said in statement emailed to Reuters. Lieberman had previously stated he saw no reason to resign, despite previous rulings that stated elected officials should resign when facing criminal charges.
According to YNet News, Lieberman has been under investigation since 2001 in a case that spanned nine countries. One investigation, which involved more serious suspicions of money-laundering and bribery, was closed due to lack of evidence.
Lieberman leads the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu faction, which has joined forces with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party for elections on January 22 next year. It is unclear if he will be able to stand in the election.