Sara Netanyahu to Be Questioned on Suspicion of Fraud on Friday

The prime minister's wife is suspected of falsely displaying receipts for a donation worth thousands of shekels to an Israeli NGO that was made as a payment for her and the premier's media adviser

Sara Netanyahu tours the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, 2017.
Andrew Harnik,AP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara, is expected to be questioned under caution by the police on Friday on suspicion of fraudulently deceiving the state comptroller over the employment terms of the family's former media adviser Nir Hefetz.

The case was investigated as an appendix to the Bezeq-Walla bribery case, following the testimony of state's witness and the Netanyahus' former spokesman Nir Hefetz. Attorney Dan Shimron, who was also involved in the case, is expected to testify to the police at the same time.

The case started with the prime minister's request to the state comptroller, as Haaretz had reported, to arrange Hefetz's employment as the family's spokesman, after he had refused to be paid for his services.

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In 2014, Hefetz and lawyer David Shimron met Comptroller Joseph Shapira, who referred them to his office's permits committee to check if Hefetz's unpaid employment could be authorized. During the talks with the committee, one of the participants suggested that the Netanyahus donate money to a voluntary organization instead. But in fact the committee did not permit Netanyahu to employ Hefetz without payment and he continued working for the family free of charge without a permit.

At a certain stage the Netanyahus' submitted to the permits' committee receipts for 8,000 shekels that were donated to the Yad Sara NGO instead of paying Hefetz. However, Hefetz's testimony to the police in January raised a suspicion that the receipts given in exchange for his wages were in fact for assistance the NGO had given a relative of Sara Netanyahu. The police fraud unit officers are expected to investigate the suspicion that Netanyahu had tried to defraud the state comptroller by giving him the receipts.

If the prosecution decides to indict Netanyahu in this case, it will be added to the indictment already served against her regarding offenses in the prime minister's residences.

Netanyahu associates said on Thursday that they still have no idea what she is expected to be questioned about on Friday morning and over what suspicions.