Israel PM's wife Sara Netanyahu to stand for hearing on corruption
Israel's attorney general has said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife will be summoned for a hearing in January on suspicion of using state funds for personal expenditures. A statement released by the Ministry of Justice on Monday said the hearing would be held by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, Xinhua news agency reported.
The police concluded its investigation on the case in May 2016 with a recommendation to indict Sara Netanyahu, with sufficient evidence allegedly found in the case. In September, the Ministry of Justice said in a statement that Netanyahu was suspected of procuring items, fraud and breach of trust, and said that Mandelblit was "considering" indicting her.
The hearing, not a usual step in the Israeli legal system, is supposed to be the last step before Mandelblit would decide whether to indict Sara Netanyahu. In the case, widely known in Israel as "the meals-ordering affair," Sara Netanyahu and Ezra Saidoff, deputy director of the Prime Minister's Office, allegedly created a false impression between 2010 and 2013 that no cook was employed in the office prime minister's residence, while in fact there were several chefs, according to the ministry.
The false impression was aimed to draw state funds to finance gourmet meals prepared by chefs. "In this way, hundreds of meals from restaurants and chefs worth 359,000 shekels ($101,000) were received from the state fraudulently," the statement read.
The move comes as the prime minister himself is entangled in two corruption investigations. In these cases, dubbed by the police "case 1,000" and "case 2,000," Netanyahu is suspected of receiving luxury gifts from Israeli-US Hollywood tycoon Arnon Milchan and allegedly making secret deals to receive favorable coverage in Yediot Aharonot, one of Israel's largest daily newspapers.