Sara Netanyahu to be indicted for fraud


(JTA) — The wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be indicted on four counts of fraud for allegedly diverting some $100,000 in public funds for her family’s personal use, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit said.

Mandelblit gave Sara Netanyahu the news on Friday, according to Army Radio.

“The attorney general examined the case evidence and reached the decision [to indict Sara Netanyahu] after consulting relevant sources, including the state prosecution and the Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office,” read a statement from the attorney general’s office Friday.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s office dismissed the indictment as “absurd and unfounded.”

“Sara Netanyahu is a brave and honest woman,” read a statement posted on his Facebook page, adding that any financial discrepancy at the prime minister’s residence came from former housekeeper Menny Naftali, who was described as “problematic.”

The indictment also names Ezra Saidoff, a former deputy director general of the Prime Minister’s Office, according to The Times of Israel. The Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office notified Saidoff on Friday as well.

The indictments are pending hearings for both Netanyahu and Saidoff.

The Netanyahus ended their statement Thursday by alleging that they were the target of an “obsessive” smear campaign.

The most serious of the four charges being brought against Sara Netanyahu involves the hiring of electrician Avi Fahima, a Likud Central Committee member. A committee charged with overseeing residence expenditures — and which included the legal adviser in the Prime Minister’s Office — had ruled against the hiring of Fahima.

Further suspicions relate to the use of state funds for purchasing furniture that purportedly was bought for the official residence in Jerusalem and then moved to the Netanyahus’ private residence in Caesarea. Older furniture was taken back from Caesarea to the residence in Jerusalem.

The decision to launch the investigation came in light of the state prosecutor’s recommendation after allegations were raised in a 2015 report by State Comptroller Yosef Shapira that detailed lavish spending at the official residence in Jerusalem, as well as at the Caesarea home.

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