Sara Netanyahu indicted for fraud

Sara Netanyahu at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., March 4, 2014. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Sara Netanyahu at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., March 4, 2014. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

JERUALEM (JTA) – Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been indicted on fraud and breach of trust charges for ordering private meals from restaurants worth about $96,600 from high-end restaurants instead of using the residence’s cook to prepare meals.

The indictment alleging “systematic fraud” was filed Thursday in Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.

Ezra Saidoff, a former deputy director general of the Prime Minister’s Office was indicted on the same charges: aggravated fraudulent receiving of an item or items, fraud and breach of trust. Saidoff also was charged with falsification by a public servant.

The meals were ordered from gourmet restaurants between 2010 and 2013 in violation of rules which prevent those living in the prime minister’s residence from ordering meals from the outside when there is a cook on staff.

The indictment states that Sara Netanyahu was aware that she was violating the rules when she ordered the meals. Her attorneys have said she did not know she was violating the rules.

The investigation began in 2015, after the State Comptroller’s Office issued a report on the Netanyahu family household expenses.

Negotiations for a plea deal which began in January have been unsuccessful, according to Haaretz, because Sara Netanyahu has not agreed to pay back the full amount of money for the meals and because she does not want to admit to the allegations against her.

Other investigations against her were closed after no criminal wrongdoing was determined – including the Netanyahu family keeping thousands of shekels in refunds from deposits from returned bottles over several years.

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