12:26 GMT +327 May 2018
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    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his wife, Sara

    Israeli Police Question Sara Netanyahu During Fraud Investigation

    © AP Photo/ Gali Tibbon
    Middle East
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    On Thursday Israeli police spent nine hours questioning Sara Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, concerning new evidence in a corruption investigation into her family involving a misuse of state funds. The Lahav 433 anti-corruption unit interrogated the leader’s wife from about one p.m. to ten p.m., local time.

    This is the second time authorities have questioned the Israeli leader’s wife, and media outlets in the country are reporting that there is new evidence stemming from statements made to police by Meni Naftali, former caretaker at Beit Aghion, the official residence for the Israeli head of state in Jerusalem. In February, Naftali won a settlement against the Netanyahus for NIS 170,000, for nonpayment of overtime and for poor treatment. 

    The Prime Minister’s office responded to the new round of questioning saying, "There won’t be anything, because there isn’t anything."

    Former Netanyahu aide Ezra Seidoff, who is included in the investigation, was implicated in Naftali’s statements as well. Authorities also revealed Thursday that former Netanyahu chief of staff Gil Sheffer, who was questioned in the state funds probe two weeks ago, had a sexual assault complaint lodged against him six weeks ago.

    The complaint accuses Sheffer of taking a woman to his apartment, forcing himself on her and not allowing her to leave. Before Sheffer took office the accuser wrote a letter to Netanyahu asking the Prime Minister not to put him in his cabinet. 

    She wrote, "He attacked me brutally and violently, banged my head again and again, closed the car door when I tried to flee and ignored my pleas and shouts that he stop," according to Haaretz

    Sheffer spent five days under house arrest after questioning and his lawyer called the allegations "baseless."

    The state subsidizes a range of expenses for the Prime Minister, but investigators say the amount in question is beyond that range. Authorities recommended indicting the leader’s wife for breach of trust and fraud charges in May for using public funds to host private events, to pay for food and private chefs and hire a caretaker for her ailing father.

    Netanyahu’s wife has found herself at the center of several scandals over state funds, including "Furnituregate," "Bottlegate," and "Bedgate," which has kept her name in the headlines.


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    investigation, Corruption, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel
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