Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's wife Sara charged with fraud

Netanyahu's wife indicted on fraud charges | TheHill

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.

JERUSALEM-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife has been indicted on charges of fraud for allegedly ordering thousands of dollars of gourmet meals at government expense to the family's official residence.

The indictment against Sara Netanyahu comes months after Israel's justice ministry said she might face charges over the costly meals.

Prosecutors claim that Sara Netanyahu conspired with a senior official at the residence to hide the fact that the meals were not eligible for reimbursement.

A former deputy director of the prime minister's residence is also charged in the case.

Sara Netanyahu has long faced allegations of abusive behavior and living extravagantly.

Netanyahu, a high-profile presence at her husband's side throughout his lengthy time at the helm, has denied any wrongdoing.

The prime minister dismissed the investigation a year ago, arguing it was a preoccupation with unimportant issues.

Suspicions included the misuse of around $100,000 in official funds for catering services at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem, the ministry said in a statement.

Sara Netanyahu's extravagant living has always been a topic of controversy in the country, and husband Benjamin still faces a number of police investigations into alleged corruption, the AP reported.

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

From 2010 to 2013 Netanyahu, her family and guests received "fraudulently from the state hundreds of prepared meals (each including a number of courses) to the value of 359,000 shekels ($99,700)", the indictment read.

Israeli police questioned Netanyahu, his wife and son last week in connection to a corruption case involving the country's telecom giant, Bezeq.

Another investigation sees Netanyahu suspected of attempting to reach an agreement with the owner of Yediot Aharonot, a best-selling Israeli newspaper, for more favorable coverage.

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