Israel PM's wife convicted of misusing public funds

Published: Jun 17, 2019, 09:48 IST | Agencies

Under the terms of the bargain, Sara agreed to pay $2,800 in fines and hand the remaining $12,500 back to the state. The settlement also reduced the overspending charge to $50,000

Israel PM's wife convicted of misusing public funds
Sara Netanyahu. Pic/AFP

Jerusalem: A Jerusalem magistrate court on Sunday sentenced Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to pay a fine of more than $15,000 for misusing state funds.

The sentencing comes after she agreed to a plea bargain that ended the years-long saga of just one of the high-profile corruption cases involving the prime minister's family. The court ruling settled allegations that Sara had misused some $100,000 in state money on lavish meals.

She was indicted on charges of fraud and breach of trust last year after the State Attorney's office accused her of running up large tabs at luxury restaurants while the official residence employed a full-time chef between the years 2010 and 2013.

The settlement saw her admit to a more minor charge of "intentionally exploiting the mistake of someone else," specifically by misleading officials who didn't realise she benefited from chefs on government payroll.

Under the terms of the bargain, Sara agreed to pay $2,800 in fines and hand the remaining $12,500 back to the state. The settlement also reduced the overspending charge to $50,000.

But the PM remains the focus of the family's legal troubles. He is facing an indictment on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, pending a hearing scheduled for early October.

Netanyahu is accused of accepting lavish gifts and promising to promote advantageous legislation for a newspaper in exchange for favourable coverage. He denies wrongdoing, portraying himself as a victim of media-orchestrated persecution against him and his family in an attempt to oust him from power.

The PM and his wife have a reputation for leading indulgent lives at public expense, out of touch with most Israelis. The 60-year-old Sara has been accused of excessive spending, using public money for her extravagant tastes and for abusive behaviour toward her personal staff.

$100,000
State money 'she spent' on lavish meals

$15,000
Fine she will have to pay

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