(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit will indict Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, for diverting public money for private use, Channel 2 reported on Monday.
Sara Netanyahu is suspected of fraud and breach of trust related to misuse of public funds to meet her private housekeeping expenses. It is estimated that the four felonies of which she is suspected cost hundreds of thousands of shekels in state funds.
The first felony of which she is suspected is privately employing an electrician who did not win a tender, and covering his work expenses with state funds.
The second felony is improper use of state funds for her late father’s medical care. The third is purchasing garden furniture for the Prime Minister’s Residence and moving it to the Netanyahus’ private residence in Caesarea. The fourth is exaggerating meal expenses at the Prime Minister’s Residence.
In response to the allegations, Sara Netanyahu’s attorney, Yossi Cohen, said: “If the reports are correct, we are talking about ridiculous allegations. How far will the persecution of the Netanyahu family go? Until the cup of tea that an employee of the residence gave Mrs. Netanyahu’s 97-year-old father on his deathbed while he lived there?”
Channel 10 reported on Monday that the police suspected that NIS 11,000 worth of food was ordered to the Prime Minister’s Residence, even though receipts say the food was intended for the Prime Minister’s Office. This kind of action is forbidden because the Prime Minister’s Residence has a chef, and food is not supposed to be ordered and paid for with state funds.
The Netanyahu family issued the following response: “Yair Netanyahu [the eldest son] is vegetarian, Avner [the younger son] and Mrs. Netanyahu almost never eat meat, and the prime minister does not consume food worth thousands of shekels from a steak house. It would be interesting to find out the housekeeper’s part in these orders from 2011.”
The housekeeper at the time was Meni Naftali.
Israel Police recommended that Sara Netanyahu be indicted over a year ago, and officials from the State Attorney’s Office recently decided to accept the recommendation.
Last week, Sara Netanyahu was summoned for questioning at the Lahav 433 National Crime Unit. It is assumed that the questioning was related to the fourth felony. The prime minister is not a suspect in the case and has denied wrongdoing by his wife in the past.