Israel foreign minister Lieberman steps down over fraud charges

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned Friday after being charged with fraud and breach of trust, in a move that could have repercussions on next month's election.

"I have decided to resign my post as foreign minister and deputy prime minister and ... also to remove my (parliamentary) immunity forthwith so I can end this matter quickly, without delay and clear my name absolutely," Lieberman said in an emailed statement.

Israel's Justice Ministry said Thursday it would charge Lieberman over alleged irregularities tied to the promotion of an Israeli diplomat who had leaked him privileged information about a police probe into his activities.

More serious allegations, including money-laundering and bribery, were dropped, but even the lesser charges cast a cloud over his political future and within 24 hours of receiving the ministry report, he decided to stand down.

An official in the PMO said Netanyahu would serve as acting foreign minister until the election.

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