Published On: Thu, Jun 21st, 2018

Sara Netanyahu: Israeli prime minister’s wife charged with fraud in ‘residence affair’

The prime minister's wife charged with fraud and breach of trust for violating regulations by ordering private meals worth some $100,000 from exclusive restaurants although a cook had been employed at PM's official residence at the time.

 Israeli prime minister's wife Sara and Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s wife, Sara, was indicted Thursday for alleged systematic fraud in the so-called “residence affair.”

Sara Netanyahu is suspected along with the former deputy director general of the Prime Minister’s Office, Ezra Saidoff, of ordering private meals worth some NIS 350,000 (about $100,000) from exclusive restaurants with the state footing the bill. At the same time, a cook had been hired to prepare the meals at the residence. Netanyahu was charged with fraudulently obtaining benefits under aggravated circumstances, fraud and breach of trust. Saidoff was charged with falsification by a public servant.

According to the draft of the indictment, starting in September 2010 at the latest and until March 2013, Sara Netanyahu instructed staff at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Jerusalem, to create a false impression according to which no cook was employed and to demeaned the state funding for hundreds of meals from chefs and gourmet restaurants, a fraud worth a total of 360,000 shekels ($99,000)

The two allegedly conspired to circumvent regulations that stated that if no cook was employed at the official residence, “prepared cooked food could be ordered to the residence according to need.”

In so doing, the pair supposedly sought to obtain state financing both for employing the cooks working at the residence and for ordering ready-made meals and chefs to cook at the residence.

Up until now, Sara Netanyahu refused to reach a resolution of the matter with prosecutors and agree to pay the residence for the value of the meals and to admit to the allegations against her.

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