Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Israeli PM's wife charged with fraud for $100K worth of takeaway orders

The couple on a visit to the White House in March Image The couple on a visit to the White House in March
Andrew Cummings | 24 June, 2018, 17:15

Sara Netanyahu is accused of misusing public funds by fraudulently ordering over $100,000 worth of meals to the prime minister's residence when there was a full-time chef on staff, the Associated Press reported.

The charges against Netanyahu include fraud and breaches of trust.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is not directly implicated in the current case, but he is being investigated for other allegations of corruption. She also used almost $10,000 in state funds to pay for private chefs, prosecutors say. For years, she has been accused of leading an extravagant lifestyle.

Benjamin Netanhayu had said those accusations would prove to be unfounded; he called the probe into his own activities a "media witch-hunt."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and his wife Sara, second right, host United States president Donald Trump, left, and his wife Melania at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017. Israel's Ynet News says that the attorney general's office is seeking a three-judge panel to hold the trial, because of "the defendant's public position". The charges, which are referred to as "Meals-Ordering Affair", are denied by Sara Netanyahu on various occasions.

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The Jerusalem Post notes that when Leah Rabin, wife of then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, was about to be indicted in 1977 for allegedly maintaining an illegal dollar bank account, Rabin resigned from office over the scandal.

The charges include offences of accepting bribes, fraud and a breach of trust.

Both of the Netanyahus have been the subject of scrutiny by Israeli authorities. If reports from Israeli newspapers are to be believed, the allegations against his wife are unlikely to affect the popularity of Benjamin Netanyahu who has been riding high in opinion polls.

The Netanyahus have repeatedly denied wrongdoing and said the raft of police investigations launched against them were part of a plot by the prime minister's political enemies to destabilise his government. The prime minister was questioned by police in that case last week.

Netanyahu has been able to rally his base by presenting himself as the victim of a politically motivated witch hunt.

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