Sara Netanyahu grilled for 12 hours on alleged misuse of state funds
Jerusalem prosecutor will now decide whether to indict; PM slams what he says are baseless allegations against his wife
Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was questioned by the Israel Police anti-corruption unit for 12 hours Thursday over alleged financial irregularities at the Prime Minister’s Residence.
Channel 10 said that she left the Lod headquarters of the Lahav 433 unit at 1 a.m.
The police said Thursday that the case had already been handed to the Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s office, and Mrs. Netanyahu was questioned by officers to complete their investigation, after new evidence against her came to light.
“The findings of the investigation and case materials were transferred to Jerusalem District Prosecutor for review and a decision,” a police spokeswoman said, according to Channel 2 television.
Prosecutors now must decide whether to indict Mrs. Netanyahu or close the case.
Mrs. Netanyahu is accused of improper behavior and misuse of state funds relating to the Prime Minister’s Residence, including receiving goods under false pretenses, falsifying documents and breach of trust.
Two of the cases involve her using state money to order food for personal use, and a third case involves using public funds to pay for a caretaker for her elderly father.
The prime minister condemned the investigation as his wife faced police officers Thursday, saying that the allegations against her were baseless.
“Once again we say, there was nothing, because there is nothing,” he said in a statement published by the Prime Minister’s Office.
Ezra Saidoff, a former deputy director for operations at the Prime Minister’s Office, was also due to be interrogated on Thursday, according to Israel Radio.
In May, Israel police recommended prosecuting the prime minister’s wife for aggravated fraud for allegedly appropriating public funds earmarked for the Prime Minister’s Residence for private use.
But during a review of the case, the State Prosecutor’s Office asked the police to continue investigating. As a result, the new evidence came to light, according to Channel 10.
The new evidence emerged in a long session of testimony given by Menny Naftali, a former caretaker at the residence, on November 1 to the Lahav 433 unit, according to Channel 10.
Naftali was awarded NIS 170,000 (about $43,735) in damages in February, after a labor court accepted his claims of mistreatment by Mrs. Netanyahu during his employment at the Prime Minister’s Residence.
He had provided extensive descriptions of humiliation, racist remarks and angry fits that he allegedly suffered at the hands of Sara Netanyahu.
Mrs. Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing and has claimed in the past that she is a victim of a plot to topple the prime minister and that former employees have been paid to testify against her.