Prosecutor charges Netanyahu's wife with fraud: Justice ministry

Nellie Chapman
June 21, 2018

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara, has been indicted for aggregated fraud and breach of trust over the misuse of public funds at their official residence.

Although the prime minister is not implicated in this case, the charges against his wife could have far-reaching consequences for his political standing and appear likely to damage his public image.

According to the indictment, Netanyahu falsely claimed there was no cook at the time in the Prime Minister's Residence when in reality there was a full-time cook when she claimed the expenses.

Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu pictured together in Milan.

The indictment said she acted to "fraudulently obtain state funding for various expenses for the accused and her family that were not supposed to be financed in this manner".

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.

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The Netanyahu family's legal problems have gripped Israel for more than three years, and in the prime minister's case threaten his political survival.

The prosecution indicted Seidoff on Thursday for the same offenses as those leveled against the prime minister's wife, while adding the offense of falsifying documents and with a total fraud amount of NIS 393,000.

According to a source for Sara Netanyahu's defence team quoted by the Israeli website Ynet, she claimed to have had "no awareness she may have been committing criminal offences", and blamed officials in the household who advised her.

Bibi denies the allegations and has called the investigations - get ready for it - a witch hunt.

Police are still investigating suspicions Netanyahu arranged regulatory benefits for the country's biggest telecommunications provider, Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Corp., in exchange for sympathetic coverage by its online news outlet.

According to the indictment, filed in the Jerusalem magistrate's court, Sara Netanyahu also spent $10,000 on private chefs between 2010-2013.

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