Published On: Sun, Jun 16th, 2019

Prime Minister’s wife Sara Netanyahu pleads guilty as part of corruption case plea deal

Sara Netanyahu admits to deliberately exploiting mistake of others in ordering catering to official residence; Criticism of the arrangement with PM's wife: "scandal that did not return all the money"

The wife of Prime Minister, Sara Netanyahu, admitted and signed a plea deal over the misuse of state funds for meals at the premier’s official residence, this morning (Sunday).

PM’s wife appeared in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court in the plea bargain reached by her attorneys with representatives of the State Attorney’s Office in the context of the dormitory affair.

The arrangement submitted to the President of the Court, Judge Avital Chen.

Under the terms of the plea, settlement reached last week, Sara Netanyahu admitted the amended indictment and convicted of a criminal offense of deliberately exploiting the mistake of another person who is not cheating at a value of NIS 175,000.

The prosecutor on behalf of the State Attorney’s Office, Erez Padan, said at the hearing: “As in any plea bargain, each side makes concessions, sometimes painful concessions, taking into account its understanding of the case and the chances and risks of managing the litigation. For the accuser, significant concessions were made by us, and it can be assumed that the defense also felt this way. In the end, the mutual concessions allowed the submission of the plea bargain that we believe is balanced. ”

Padan also said that “the plea bargain takes into account the considerable amount of time that has elapsed since the commission of the offenses attributed to the defendant, the circumstances of the offense, his discovery, and crime without criminal convictions, as well as the personal and public costs it paid during the investigation.”

PM’s wife’s lawyer, Attorney Yossi Cohen, said in court the sentence is “severe and painful punishment.”

“This is one of the most severe, tough and painful punishments that a person I know has been given. This is an intolerable punishment, an inhuman punishment,” he said.
“The moment the investigation began, so did a massive, malicious and defamatory campaign of leaks. My client’s blood spilled in the streets. They forgot that she was a mother and a wife. This was an unprecedented process of demonization that no reasonable person could endure. This lady is made of special steel.”

Last week, Netanyahu signed a plea bargain with the State Prosecutor’s Office in the framework of the affair, in which she will pay NIS 55,000. As part of the mediation process between the parties, it was agreed to soften the indictment against Netanyahu, who admitted and convicted of a minor offense of deliberately exploiting the mistake of others, which is not fraudulent, as opposed to the original charge of fraud and breach of trust.

The number of meals that Netanyahu accused of ordering been reduced from NIS 350,000 to NIS 175,000 and the indictment states that Netanyahu refrained from telling the clerks at the Prime Minister’s Office that she employs a cook, and that Netanyahu will pay NIS 45,000, Shekels.

In July 2018, Sara Netanyahu was charged with aggravated offenses, fraud and breach of trust, after she ordered meals for the Prime Minister’s Residence at a value of more than NIS 350,000, even though a cook staffed the Prime Minister’s Residence.

In the past, the prosecution and Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit agreed to a plea bargain with Sara Netanyahu. However, she and her lawyers refused to recognize and admit responsibility for the charges, and also to pay a substantial amount of money to cover the duty to the state, and the arrangement disqualified.

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