Sara Netanyahu charged with misuse of public funds

Saul Bowman
June 24, 2018

Sarah Netanyahu, wife of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu has been charged with fraud over alleged misuse of state funds and breach of public trust.

Her instructions, according to the indictment, violated rules which bar those living at the residence from ordering meals when a cook was on staff.

The prime minister himself has been entangled in several serious corruption investigations. In 2016, a court ruled she abused an employee and awarded the man £31,000 in damages.

The Jerusalem District Attorney's Office said the decision to indict both Mrs Netanyahu and Mr Seidoff was made "after reviewing all evidence and weighing all circumstances of the case".

A draft of Netanyahu's indictment claims that she told staff at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem to order meals that totalled around $96,000 between 2010 and 2013, according to a report in Israeli daily Haaretz - averaging around $24,000 a year in take-out meals.

Thursday's charges came after Nir Hefetz, a former Netanyahu family aide turned state's witness, provided testimony to prosecutors regarding Sara Netanyahu's alleged misappropriation of public funds for personal use.

In a statement posted on the prime minister's Facebook page, her lawyers called the indictment "baseless and delusional". For years, she has been accused of leading an extravagant lifestyle.

"They're dealing with the most important things in the world", he said at the time. It was unclear when her trial would begin.

In February, the Israel police recommended indicting him in two corruption cases on suspicion of accepting bribes, fraud and breach of trust. Thursday's indictment comes after Netanyah refused to settle, admit fault, or pay back the government money used.

There was no immediate comment from her office. Earlier, Israeli police questioned Netanyahu about the purchase of submarines in Germany.

Netanyahu is suspected of promoting regulations that provided hundreds of millions of dollars in benefits for the company in return for more favorable coverage of the Netanyahu family on Bezeq's influential news site, Walla.

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