Netanyahu's Wife Charged With Misuse of Public Funds

Netanyahu's Wife Charged With Misuse of Public Funds

Sara Netanyahu was charged on Thursday along with Ezra Saidoff, a former deputy director general of the Prime Minister's Office.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara Netanyahu, is charged with fraud and breach of trust over her ordering of food for private meals from pricey restaurants.

According to reports, Sara Netanyahu did so by bypassing the stated regulations prohibiting such practices if a cook is employed at the official residence of the Israeli Prime Minister.

From 2010 to 2013 Netanyahu, her family and guests received "fraudulently from the state hundreds of prepared meals (each including a number of courses) to the value of 359 000 shekels (R1.3 million)", the indictment read.

The indictment states that Netanyahu regularly pressured Seidoff, house managers and others to obtain items for the residence whether they were authorized by law or not.

In a statement posted on the prime minister's Facebook page, her lawyers called the indictment "baseless and delusional".

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During negotiations with Netanyahu last month, prosecutors reportedly offered to close the case if she paid back the cost of the meals and admitted to the charges, but she turned down the offer.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu walk out after their meeting with French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, second left, at Bercy Economy Ministry, in Paris, Wednesday, June 6, 2018.

The scandal is, however, unlikely the latest case could cause significant political damage to her husband, who is riding high in opinion polls despite the allegations against him. Police have recommended charges against Mr. Netanyahu in two investigations, but no indictments have. "The wife of the prime minister is not the one who ordered the food and the trays, but the former housekeeper Mani Naftali, as he himself admitted in the Herzliya court", the attorneys stated.

Netanyahu is suspected of accepting lavish gifts from billionaire friends, and promising to promote legislation to help a major Israeli newspaper against its free rival in exchange for favourable coverage.

Israeli media reported past year that Sara Netanyahu was expected to be indicted.

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