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Sep 26, 2:17 PM EDT

Israel to charge former officials with corruption

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Conflict in the Middle East

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel says it will charge more than a dozen former ministers and other officials from the defense minister's party with corruption.

The Justice Ministry said Monday there is evidence against 16 members of Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu party, including senior officials. Lieberman himself is not implicated.

The 16 include Stas Misezhnikov, a former tourism minister suspected of bribery, breach of trust and drug use. Israeli media say he abused cocaine while in office, including on official events in Israel and overseas trips. His attorney, Yuval Sasson, denies the allegations.

Lieberman himself was at the center of a separate corruption probe that forced him to step down as foreign minister and nearly derailed his political career. He returned to office in 2013 after being cleared of those allegations.

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