Sara Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister's Wife, Is Charged With Fraud

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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.

Ezra Saidoff, the former deputy director general of the prime minister's office, was also charged in the same case on Thursday.

This is in violation of rules that prohibit ordering meals from outside the residence when a cook is employed, which Netanyahu reportedly tried to hide.

Sara and Benjamin Netanyahu visit the British Museum in 2015. In 2016, a court ruled she abused an employee and awarded the man £31,000 in damages. Outlets have published reports on attempts by Sara Netanyahu to clear her name by publicizing the results of a lie detector test on the matter and alleged efforts by one of the family's top aides to bribe a judge to drop the investigation completely.

She has denied any wrongdoing. Israeli police have recommended charging Benjamin Netanyahu in two separate investigations.

The charges against Sara Netanyahu come after the prime minister has enjoyed several political successes in recent months, including the Trump administration's move of the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and its withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. For years, she has been accused of leading an extravagant lifestyle.

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A statement from Sara Netanyahu's lawyers posted on the prime minister's official Facebook page called the indictment "baseless and delusional".

It was not immediately clear when her trial would begin.

"This is the first time in Israel and around the world that a leader's wife is prosecuted for food in the trays".

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

"He consults with her on key issues, both personal, political and even diplomatic and security issues and now she's under indictment and that's very serious", Hoffman said. The case involves suspicions Prime Minister Netanyahu advanced regulations benefiting Bezeq owner Shaul Elovitch in exchange for positive coverage from Bezeq's Walla news site.

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