Sara Netanyahu, Israeli PM's wife, charged with fraud over lavish meals

Netanyahu's wife indicted on fraud charges
Netanyahu's wife indicted on fraud charges | TheHill
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24 June, 2018

The indictment alleging "systematic fraud" was filed Thursday in Jerusalem Magistrate's Court.

Also indicted is the former director general of the Prime Minister's Office, Ezra Saidoff.

According to the indictment sheet, investigators found evidence that Sara Netanyahu asked other employees to hide the fact that a cook was employed at the residence, indicating awareness that ordering meals from outside was a violation of the rules. The prime minister has shared an attorney statement on his Facebook page, calling his wife's indictment "absurd and delusional". Her attorneys have said she did not know she was violating the rules.

The Jerusalem Post reported Benjamin Netanyahu may also be indicted this year or early 2019.

Seidoff was also charged with "falsification by a public servant".

If convicted, she could face a maximum sentence of five years behind bars, though that seemed unlikely.

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The wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was charged Thursday with misusing some $100,000 in public funds to order lavish meals from celebrity chefs, dealing an embarrassing blow to the country's first family and drawing fresh attention to a series of separate corruption investigations plaguing the prime minister. It was unclear when her trial would begin.

The Netanyahus have repeatedly denied wrongdoing and said the raft of police investigations launched against them were part of a plot by the prime minister's political enemies to destabilise his government.

Netanyahu has managed to deflect attention from his legal problems through a string of political and diplomatic victories in recent months.

Netanyahu has been able to rally his base by presenting himself as the victim of a politically motivated witch hunt.

Netanyahu was the subject of a long police probe into allegations that she had falsified household expenses, including claims she had spent "over 350,000 shekels" ($96,500, €83,500) on catering for the premier's office. The case involves suspicions Prime Minister Netanyahu advanced regulations benefiting Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch in exchange for positive coverage from Bezeq's Walla news site.


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