Israeli PM's wife charged with fraud, breach of trust

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

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit and State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan had already notified the prime minister's wife of their intention to file charges in recent months.

The wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been charged with falsifying household expenses in order to have catered meals supplied to their official residence.

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.

The indictment, slated to be presented in May, was delayed after it emerged that Nir Hefetz, a former close adviser to the Netanyahu family, had provided new evidence against Netanyahu.

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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".

"Sara Netanyahu is a strong and honourable woman and there has never been any fault in her actions", a statement on the prime minister's Facebook page said.

Cohen has said that if the charges only related to NIS 30,000-NIS 40,000 at most, they could be dropped as relating to an oversight.

Israeli police have already recommended indicting Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two separate cases. "The wife of the prime minister is not the one who ordered the food and the trays, but the former housekeeper Mani Naftali, as he himself admitted in the Herzliya court", the attorneys stated.

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Netanyahu and his family members are also suspected of receiving 1 million shekels ($285,000, €240,000) worth of luxury cigars, champagne and jewelry from wealthy personalities in exchange for financial or personal favors.

In the other case, investigators suspect the premier of trying to reach an agreement with the owner of Yediot Aharonot, a top Israeli newspaper, for more favourable coverage.

The Jerusalem Post reported Benjamin Netanyahu may also be indicted this year or early 2019.

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