Sara Netanyahu to stand trial for misusing $112,000 in state funds – report
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Sara Netanyahu to stand trial for misusing $112,000 in state funds – report

PM's wife said set to be indicted in the coming weeks for receiving goods under false pretenses, falsifying documents and breach of trust

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife Sara visits cancer patients and their parents at a protest tent in Jerusalem's Sacher Park on June 15, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife Sara visits cancer patients and their parents at a protest tent in Jerusalem's Sacher Park on June 15, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Sara Netanyahu, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, is reportedly to stand trial for allegedly diverting some NIS 400,000 ($112,000) in public funds for her private housekeeping expenses.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit is likely to inform Sara Netanyahu of the indictment in the coming weeks, according to report in the Haaretz daily on Tuesday.

She is suspected of misusing state funds at the Prime Minister’s Residence, including receiving goods under false pretenses, falsifying documents and breach of trust.

Previous reports said the attorney general was poised to level four separate charges against Sara Netanyahu.

The most serious of those involves the hiring of electrician Avi Fahima, a Likud Central Committee member. A committee charged with overseeing residence expenditures — and which included the Prime Minister’s Office legal adviser — ruled against the hiring of Fahima, but he was employed regardless.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit attends a ceremony in Jerusalem, June 13, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Further suspicions relate to the use of state funds for purchasing furniture. The furniture was apparently bought for the official residence in Jerusalem and then moved to the Netanyahus’ private residence in Caesarea, while older furniture was taken back from Caesarea to the residence in Jerusalem.

The prime minister’s wife is also suspected of improper use of state funds for her late father’s medical care and overdrawing from state coffers for private meals ordered to the Prime Minister’s Residence.

Sara Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing. Her lawyer has called the allegations against her “ridiculous” and part of the overall “persecution of the Netanyahu family.”

Over the weekend, Channel 2 news reported that Sara Netanyahu had taken a private lie detector test in a bid to shore up her version of events. She took the test at the Tal Polygraph center at her “own initiative” in order to “prove her version of events,” the center said, according to the report.

The center said Sara Netanyahu was found to have been telling the truth; however, lie detector tests are inadmissible in Israeli courts and can only be used as an indication of events.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and his wife Sara, second right, host US president Donald Trump, left, and his wife Melania at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017. (Avi Ohayon/GPO)

The decision to launch the investigation into her 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 Netanyahus’ Caesarea home.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is also under investigation in two separate cases of suspected financial misdeeds and supposed illicit ties to executives in media, international business and Hollywood.

One investigation involving Netanyahu, dubbed by police as “Case 1000,” concerns claims he and his wife improperly accepted lavish gifts from wealthy supporters, including Australian billionaire James Packer and Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan.

The second investigation, “Case 2000,” concerns Netanyahu’s alleged attempts to strike a deal with publisher Arnon Mozes of the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper group to weaken Yediot’s main competitor, Yisrael Hayom, in exchange for more favorable coverage of Netanyahu by Yediot.

A key former aide, Avi Harow, has turned state’s witness and reportedly given evidence relating to some of the investigations.

Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing in either of the cases.

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