Sara Netanyahu Expected to Be Indicted for Misuse of Funds at PM's Residence

The prime minister's wife is suspected of fraudulently receiving catered meals worth $100,000 while concealing that the residence employed a cook

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu host the prime minister of Japan and his wife at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem, May 2, 2018.
Kobi Gideon / GPO

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit is expected to announce this week that Sara Netanyahu will be indicted for alleged exorbitant spending at the prime minister’s official residence, after efforts failed to reach an agreement out of court.

Sara Netanyahu and the suspended deputy director general of the Prime Minister’s Office, Ezra Saidoff, are expected to be charged with aggravated fraud, which carries a five-year prison sentence.

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Sara Netanyahu is suspected of fraudulently receiving catered meals at the prime minister’s residence at a cost of around 360,000 shekels ($100,000) while concealing the fact that the residence also employed a cook.

Her attorneys, Yossi Cohen, Jacob Weinroth and Amit Hadad, submitted a further response to the claims against her, based on new evidence provided by the Netanyahus’ former spokesman Nir Hefetz, and recordings provided by the Prime Minister’s Office legal counsel Shlomit Barnea and a former PMO accountant general, Yossi Strauss.

Mendelblit rejected the attorneys’ arguments on the alleged role played in the affair by the residence’s former chief caretaker, Meni Naftali, despite contradictions in his testimony.

During negotiations between Netanyahu and prosecutors, she declined to have the case closed if she paid back the cost of the meals and admitted to the charges.