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Israeli PM Netanyahu's wife charged with fraud, Justice Ministry says

21 June 2018

According to the indictment, Sara Netanyahu spent tens of thousands of dollars on meals from expensive restaurants between 2010 and 2013 in alleged violation of rules barring the residence from ordering in meals during periods when there was a cook on its staff.

Netanyahu, a high-profile presence at her husband's side throughout his lengthy time at the helm, has denied any wrongdoing.

Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit filed the indictment against Netanyahu for fraud with aggravated circumstances and breach of public trust in what has become known as the "Prepared Food Affair", referring to fraudulently obtaining from the state NIS 359,000 (approximately $100,000) in hundreds of prepared food orders.

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Netanyahu's wife Sara Netanyahu has been charged with alleged misuse of funds for ordering catered meals at the official residence of the Prime Minister.

"Sara Netanyahu is a strong and honourable woman and there has never been any fault in her actions", a statement on the prime minister's Facebook page said.

"The wife of the prime minister, who is not a public servant, did not even know the procedures and turned out to be saying the truth in a lie detector test when asked about it".

The allegations announced previous year are that she and an aide falsely declared there were no cooks available at the prime minister's official residence and ordered from outside caterers at public expense.

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The indictment says Sara Netanyahu falsely claimed there were no cooks on staff when the meals were ordered.

The prosecution also indicted Seidoff, the former Prime Minister's Office deputy director-general, on Thursday for the same offenses as Netanyahu, while adding the offense of falsifying documents and with a total fraud amount of NIS 393,000 (approximately $108,000).

Netanyahu and his family members are also suspected of receiving 1 million shekels ($285,000, €240,000) worth of luxury cigars, champagne and jewelry from wealthy personalities in exchange for financial or personal favors.

The Jerusalem District Attorney's Office said the decision to indict both Mrs Netanyahu and Mr Seidoff was made "after reviewing all evidence and weighing all circumstances of the case".

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Israeli PM Netanyahu's wife charged with fraud, Justice Ministry says