Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife was on Thursday charged with fraud and breach of trust for allegedly misusing funds at the prime minister’s residence, reported Reuters.
Sara Netanyahu allegedly misused around $100,000 (approximately Rs 68 lakh) of official funds for catering services at the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem, the Justice Ministry said in a statement quoting Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit. Prosecutors alleged that she and former Deputy Director of the Prime Minister’s Office Ezra Saidoff committed systemic fraud by directing staff to order meals from gourmet restaurants between 2010 and 2013.
According to rules, meal cannot be ordered from the prime minister’s residence when a cook is employed. Investigators alleged that she even hid the employment of the cook, according to The Hill.
She has denied any wrongdoing, reported Israel National News.
The indictment may damage the political image of Prime Minister Netanyahu who is himself being investigated for his alleged deals with the country’s largest telecommunications company Bezeq Group, reported Jerusalem Post.
The probe, known as Case 4000, involves suspicions that Netanyahu during his term as the communications minister from 2014 to 2017 intervened with regulators to help the Bezeq Group, which is controlled by businessman Shaul Elovitch. Elovitch, in return, ordered Bezeq Group’s Walla news to provide favourable coverage for Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu.
The police are also likely to ask Benjamin Netanyahu about text messages from his wife to Iris Elovitch, wife of Shaul Elovitch, in which she asked for news coverage to be altered. In another case, the couple is suspected of receiving illicit gifts from billionaire benefactors.