Sara Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister's Wife, Is Charged With Fraud

April FrancisJun 24, 2018

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara, was charged on Thursday with fraud and breach of trust over alleged misuse of state funds, the Justice Ministry said. Seidoff is also accused of forgery by a public servant, related to his involvement in financing private expenses in the Prime Minister's Residence.

In 2016, a former chief caretaker at the official residence successfully sued the couple for abusive treatment, winning about $43,735 in damages. Other former employees have accused her of mistreatment, charges the Netanyahus have vehemently denied.

Sara Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, is charged with fraud and breach of trust, over her ordering some $100,000 worth of food to be catered from pricey restaurants. He is also being investigated in a third case, and some of his close associates are being investigated in an additional case.

"Not only is the indictment based on false claims and erroneous and distorted data", said the statement, "it is based entirely on an improper and illegal procedure that was applied especially for Prime Minister Netanyahu and for him alone".

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According to the indictment, Netanyahu falsely claimed there was no cook at the time in the Jerusalem home in order to justify purchasing meals from restaurants. Some of the testimony was provided by Naftali, who has waged an ongoing public battle calling for the attorney general to submit an indictment against the Netanyahus.

In a statement, her lawyers called the indictment "baseless and delusional". It detailed 15 cases in which Sara Netanyahu ordered food from outside chefs including Shalom Kadosh and Lior Hafzadi. It added that the expenditures also covered hosting "official guests from Israel and around the world".

The PM was not directly implicated in the case but the charges against Sara Netanyahu threaten to embarrass the long-serving leader and bring back attention to his own legal problems. The negotiations fell through, according to Hadashot TV news.

The meal-ordering affair has received a great deal of Israeli media coverage. If reports from Israeli newspapers are to be believed, the allegations against his wife are unlikely to affect the popularity of Benjamin Netanyahu who has been riding high in opinion polls.

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