Sara Netanyahu charged with misuse of public funds

Sara Netanyahu is accused of misusing around $100,000 in official funds for catering services

The wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been charged with fraud relating to the alleged misuse of state funds.

The indictment alleging "systematic fraud" was filed Thursday in Jerusalem Magistrate's Court.

At the same time, the Jerusalem District Attorney made a decision to reject the claims of the Deputy Director of Operations and Assets in the Prime Minister's Office, Ezra Seidoff, and indict him as well.

According to the investigation, from September 2010 to March 2013, she ordered food in restaurants for the Prime Minister's residence, although it worked as a chef, and the rules forbid you to order a meal in the presence of a regular cook.

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. Benjamin Netanyahu is also under investigation. Other former employees have accused her of mistreatment - charges the Netanyahu's have vehemently denied. In February, police recommended indicting Benjamin Netanyahu in two corruption cases on suspicion of accepting bribes, fraud, and breach of trust.

Haaretz first reported previous year that Sara Netanyahu would face fraud charges. Saidoff was also charged with falsification by a public servant.




"The most absurd thing in the indictment stems from the fact that it is based on illegal regulations, and even the person who wrote the regulations admits that they are illegal", Netanyahu's lawyers said in an official statement. It was unclear when her trial would begin. If convicted, she could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison. He has denied any wrongdoing, dismissing the accusations against him and his wife as a media witch-hunt.

Gil Hoffman, chief political correspondent of the Jerusalem Post, said the indictment was a "devastating blow" to the prime minister.

There was no immediate comment from her office.

He has been interviewed three times by police over alleged involvement in the Case 4000 corruption scandal.

Case 2000 involves a suspected illicit quid pro quo deal between Netanyahu and Yedioth Ahronoth publisher Arnon Mozes that would have seen the prime minister weaken a rival daily, the Sheldon Adelson-backed Israel Hayom, in return for more favorable coverage from Yedioth.

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