Israeli PM’s wife charged with fraud and breaches of trust

22 June 2018

Israeli PM’s wife charged with fraud and breaches of trust

The wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been charged with fraud and breaches of trust on Thursday, over allegations that she misused state funds at the couple’s official residence.

Sarah Netanyahu, 59, allegedly spent USD $100,000 (AUD $135,000) of state money to pay for meals at the Prime Minister’s residence, according to an indictment filed in the Jerusalem Magistrate Court on Thursday.

On top of those expenses, Ms Netanyahu also illegally paid approximately USD $10,000 (AUD $13,500) for private chefs, while covering up the fact that the residence already employed a full-time cook, prosecutors said.

According to the indictment, “the accused acted jointly to fund at the cost of the public coffers ready meals from restaurants, and this while simultaneously receiving the services of a full-time cook in the residence, who was falsely presented to the office as a cleaning worker”.

The charges carry a maximum sentence of eight years in prison.

Her legal team has described the indictment as “false and hallucinatory”.

“It’s the first time in Israel and in the world that the wife of a leader is put on trial for food entrees,” her legal team said in a statement.

“There was no fraud, no breach of trust or any other felony. The food was not for the Netnayahu family, but for other people, including workers in the residence. We’re certain in the end that justice will speak. Truth and logic will prevail.”

Her husband has not been named in the indictment, although he is already facing a handful of separate corruption investigations.