Israeli PM Netanyahu's wife charged with fraud over catered meals
- Author: Tracy Klein Jun 24, 2018,
Jun 24, 2018, 17:10
In Thursday's indictment, the Justice Ministry said Sara Netanyahu was charged with graft, fraud and breach of trust for allegedly overspending more than $100,000 United States on private meals at the prime minister's official residence, even when there was a full-time chef on staff.
When Netanyahu was told she may face a possible corruption trial in September a year ago, the Office the Prime Minister's official Facebook page published a post denying Sara's involvement and said the allegations were "absurd and will be proven to be unfounded".
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu speak at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, U.S., March 8, 2018.
It is also reported that lawyers Sara Netanyahu tried to broker a deal with the investigation, but the parties were unable to agree.
"They're dealing with the most important things in the world", he told supporters at a rally, "the procedure for replacing a light bulb, trays of food, the cup of tea that was served to her father, a righteous man, on his deathbed".
It was not immediately clear when her trial would begin.
Both of the Netanyahus have been the subject of scrutiny by Israeli authorities. 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 prime minister has denied the allegations and has accused of being the victim of a "witch hunt". The indictment states that in accordance with her order, Naftali passed the message on to other residence staff. "He himself has three criminal investigations hanging over his head and that will make it harder for Netanyahu to govern".
The prime minister dismissed the investigation a year ago, arguing it was a preoccupation with unimportant issues.
Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit chose to accept the recommendation of the State Prosecutor's Office and rejected the arguments of Mrs. Netanyahu's lawyers in favor of dropping the case.