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

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

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

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.

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

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.

Investigators allegedly found that the prime minister's wife ordered that the cook's employment be concealed, according to Ha'aretz. Her attorneys have said she did not know she was violating the rules.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to dismiss the investigation previous year. Police have recommended charges against Mr. Netanyahu in two investigations, but no indictments have.

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.

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Lawyers for the Netanyahus called the indictment "outrageous".

"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. It is unclear when the trial will begin.

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

If convicted, she could face a maximum sentence of five years behind bars, though this is unlikely. He has denied any wrongdoing, dismissing the accusations against him and his wife as a media witch-hunt.

The prime minister dismissed the investigation previous year, arguing it was a preoccupation with unimportant issues.

Gil Hoffman, chief political correspondent of the Jerusalem Post, said the indictment was a "devastating blow" to the prime minister. It follows claims that the news website Walla, owned by Bezeq Telecom, gave the government favourable coverage in return for regulatory benefits.

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