Sara Netanyahu charged with misuse of public funds

Jun 21, 2018, 19:28
Sara Netanyahu charged with misuse of public funds

In one case, the prime minister and his family are suspected of receiving one million shekels worth of luxury cigars, champagne and jewellery from wealthy individuals in exchange for financial or personal favours.

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

According to the indictment, Netanyahu falsely claimed there was no cook at the time in the Prime Minister's Residence when in reality there was a full-time cook when she claimed the expenses. It said she was not even aware of the regulations, that the food had been ordered by an assistant and served primarily to staff and visiting dignitaries.

The indictment was also delayed from May until now after Nir Hefetz, a former close adviser to the Netanyahu family, provided new evidence against Sara Netanyahu.

The Netanyahus have denied any wrongdoing, and say they are the victims of a political witch hunt and hostile media. The following week, the USA withdrew from the global nuclear deal with Iran, a move that was warmly welcomed by Netanyahu.

But Thursday's indictment provided a fresh reminder that Netanyahu has not put his legal troubles behind him.

The indictment against Sara Netanyahu comes months after Israel's justice ministry said she might face charges over the costly meals. He described Sara as "the power behind the throne".

Police have recommended charges against Mr. Netanyahu in two investigations, but no indictments have.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to dismiss the investigation a year ago.

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. In March, police questioned Netanyahu and his wife for an investigation into whether his government improperly awarded benefits to Israel's largest telecom company, Bezeq.

In September 2017, Israel's attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, announced he was minded to file an indictment subject to a pre-indictment hearing, which took place in January.

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