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Israeli FM questioned again in bribery probe

  • Story Highlights
  • Israeli official undergoes second day of questioning by investigators
  • Authorities investigate bribery, money-laundering, fraud allegations
  • Spokeswoman says Avigdor Lieberman has been cooperative
  • Lieberman's past comments have been slammed as racist
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- For the second day in a row, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was questioned Friday by the Israeli National Fraud Investigation Unit.

Avigdor Lieberman denies any wrongdoing and says allegations are politically motivated.

Avigdor Lieberman denies any wrongdoing and says allegations are politically motivated.

A police spokesman said Lieberman was questioned for five hours and faces more questioning.

A day after he assumed his new job as Israeli foreign minister, Lieberman endured more than seven hours of questioning by police Thursday in a long-standing probe over business dealings.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said National Fraud Investigation Unit officers queried Lieberman "under warning" on suspicion of bribery, money laundering, fraud and breach of trust.

"Under warning" means that anything he disclosed in the interview may be used as evidence if he is charged.

The allegations include receiving a bribe via his daughter Michal's consulting firm. Lieberman denies the allegations and has said they are motivated by politics. His daughter and lawyer also have been questioned by authorities.

"This investigation is going on for 13 years. In today's investigation Lieberman cooperated and answered investigators' questions," Lieberman's spokeswoman, Irena Etinger, said Thursday.

Lieberman has emerged as a controversial figure in Israel, where his right-wing Yisrael Beytenu movement came in third in the recent Israeli elections, behind Likud and Kadima.

Over the years, his comments directed toward Arabs have been slammed as racist.

During the handover ceremony on Wednesday to his new job, he bluntly distanced himself from the Annapolis peace process -- the effort started in 2007 to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Lieberman's predecessor, Tzipi Livni, told Israel Radio that Lieberman had "erased in 20 minutes years of efforts to advance the peace process" when he declared that Israel was not bound by commitments it made at the summit in Annapolis.

Israelis generally have become frustrated with the peace processes in recent years and have moved to the right, because of the war with Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Hamas rocket attacks on southern Israeli cities that sparked the country's Gaza offensive. Yisrael Beytenu has benefited from that public mood.

CNN's Paul Colsey contributed to this report.

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