Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's foreign minister, has been charged with fraud and breach of trust for promoting an ambassador who had shared information with him about the case being built against Lieberman.

However the minister, who leads the ultra-nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, was cleared of more serious offences, including bribery and money-laundering.

"After examining the file, I have arrived at the conclusion that there is insufficient evidence to charge him in the first case and have decided to close it," said Israeli prosecutor Yehuda Weinstein on Thursday.

"But on the case of the promotion of the ambassador, I have decided to charge him."

While the closing of the main case against him is something of a victory for Lieberman, he will still face enormous pressure to resign over the charges, ahead of January 22 elections.

Lieberman's party is running on a joint list with the Likud faction of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, which is expected to win around 39 seats in the 120-seat Knesset, far ahead of the opposition.

In the past, Lieberman has suggested he would resign if the main case against him went ahead.

The foreign minister has always proclaimed his innocence of all the allegations against him.

Source: Agencies