23:59 GMT +318 November 2018
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    Israel's Prime Minister's wife Sara Netanyahu enters the car with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the meeting with French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire at Bercy Economy Ministry, in Paris, Wednesday, June 6, 2018

    Israeli PM Netanyahu’s Wife Charged With Fraud Over Misuse of Funds

    © AP Photo / Francois Mori
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    According to a draft of the indictment, Sara Netanyahu told the staff at the PM's Residence to order meals eaten at the residence worth a total of 360,000 shekels ($99,000) from gourmet restaurants between 2010 and 2013.

    Sara Netanyahu, along with Ezra Saidoff, a former deputy director general of the Prime Minister's Office, have been indicted on fraud and breach of trust according to an official statement.

    Investigators in the case claim, she knew she was breaking rules prohibiting the residence from ordering meals from outside during periods when the residence had a cook on its staff and concealed these facts.

    Ezra Saidoff allegedly conspired to avoid the regulations and create a false impression that there was no cook at the residence in Jerusalem.

    READ MORE: Police Interrogate Israeli PM Netanyahu and His Wife Over Corruption Charges

    Commenting on these charges, Netanyahu's lawyer Yossi Cohen called them "ridiculous and bizarre".

    For several months, Netanyahu's attorneys have been working to reach an agreement that would see no criminal accusation registered but would involve the return of the funds.

    The State Attorney's Office declined the proposal, claiming that returning funds supposedly gained illegally is not sufficient punishment for someone suspected of systematically defrauding the state.

    Sara Netanyahu, for her part, refused to agree to pay the residence for the value of the meals and to admit to the accusations against her.

    The prime minister, who himself is embroiled in corruption investigations, has named the accusations against his wife "absurd and unfounded."

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    Tags:
    meals, wife, residence, fraud, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel
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