Sara Netanyahu Indicted for Misuse of State Funds
Netanyahu’s lawyers insist she did nothing wrong, because regulations on her use of state funds are wrong
State prosecutors have for some time been investigating what they've termed the overtly-lavish spending of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife.
On Thursday, the attorney general felt it was time to finally take Sara Netanyahu to court on charges of misusing state funds.
The indictment filed against the prime minister's wife accuses her of fraudulently charging $100,000 in gourmet meals over the course of three years between 2010 and 2013.
The Prime Minister's Residence has a staff chef on hand to provide the Israeli leader and his family with all their meals. If the chef is not available, or if the prime minister is hosting foreign guests, additional chefs can be brought in or meals from restaurants can be ordered at the taxpayers' expense. Otherwise, the Netanyahu family must pay for its own food.
But, according to Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Sara Netanyahu grossly violated those regulations, both at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem and the family's private home in Caesarea.
Negotiations between the two sides that would have seen Sara Netanyahu repay part of the money and publicly apologize reportedly broke down recently after the prime minister's wife reportedly refused to reimburse the state to the tune demanded by prosecutors.
But Netanyahu's lawyers dispute those reports, and instead insist that she did nothing wrong because the regulations in question are themselves illegal since they were never authorized by the Knesset Finance Committee, the only body that can legally determine which of the expenses incurred by the prime minister's family are covered by state funds.
"The most absurd thing in the indictment stems from the fact that it is based on illegal regulations, and even the person who wrote the regulations admits that they are illegal. The regulations covering food were written on the fly by three officials who were unauthorized to do so," read a statement released by Sara Netanyahu's lawyers.