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Sara Netanyahu charged with misuse of public funds in 'meals-ordering' affair

21 June 2018

On Thursday, she was charged along with Ezra Seidoff, a former deputy director general of the prime minister's office.

Mandelblit filed an indictment against the prime minister's wife for fraudulently charging the state for gourmet meals.

During negotiations with Netanyahu last month, prosecutors reportedly offered to close the case if she paid back the cost of the meals and admitted to the charges, but she turned down the offer.

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"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.

He said that Meni Naftali and other prime minister's residence managers like him, not Netanyahu, were responsible for the food orders regarding which she is accused.

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"This is the first time in Israel and in the world that the wife of a leader is brought to justice over food trays", it said. Although Hefetz is primarily a state's witness against the prime minister in Case 4000, known as the Bezeq-Walla!

Sara Netanyahu has been charged with using almost $100,000 of state money to cover unauthorized spending on high-end meals between September 2010 and March 2013.

The charges against Netanyahu include fraud and breaches of trust. The Israeli prime minister is himself embroiled in a series of corruption investigations but has protested his innocence and vowed to remain in power, saying he is the victim of a witch-hunt. Netanyahu also faces several police investigations into alleged corruption.

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.

In another, investigators suspect the premier of trying to reach an agreement with the owner of Yediot Aharonot, a top Israeli newspaper, for more favourable coverage.

Meals also came from Cavalier, described by reviewers on Trip Advisor as "the only notable" French restaurant in Jerusalem before it closed previous year, and from the Sheraton Plaza restaurant, then led by chef Shalom Kadosh.

Sara Netanyahu charged with misuse of public funds in 'meals-ordering' affair