Netanyahu's Wife Charged With Fraud - Leah Barkoukis

Pauline Gross
June 21, 2018

Although the indictment against Sara Netanyahu did not directly affect the prime minister, it ended a period of political victories that had bolstered the Israeli leader and distracted attention from his legal woes.

In Thursday's indictment, the Justice Ministry said Sara Netanyahu was charged with graft, fraud and breach of trust for allegedly overspending more than $100,000 USA on private meals at the prime minister's official residence, even when there was a full-time chef on staff.

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.

"Not only is the indictment based on false claims and false data, it is based entirely on forbidden and illegal procedure applied particularly to Prime Minister Netanyahu and only to him".

The ongoing investigations took a significant turn a year ago when Prime Minister Netanyahu's former chief of staff, Ari Harow, turned state's witness.

She is alleged to have falsely stated there were no cooks available at the prime minister's official residence.

The prime minister was questioned by police in that case last week.

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Mrs Netanyahu has long faced allegations of abusive behaviour and living extravagantly in a manner out of touch with the general public.

In February, police recommended Netanyahu be charged with bribery in two other cases. For years, she has been accused of leading an extravagant lifestyle.

Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu pictured together in Milan.

Her husband is himself under investigation on suspicion of corruption offences.

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

A pre-indictment hearing in January where Netanyahu's lawyers asked Mandelblit to reverse his preliminary decision in September 2017 to indict her also failed to sway him, though Mandelblit issued a statement at the time that he "had an open mind" to their arguments.

Other reports by GizPress

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