Israeli Leader's Wife Charged With Fraud

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Israeli prosecutors on Thursday charged the wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with graft, fraud, and breach of trust. The residence's former deputy director was also indicted in the case.

The meals were ordered from gourmet restaurants between 2010 and 2013 in violation of rules that prevent those living in the prime minister's residence from ordering meals from the outside when there is a cook on staff. It is unclear when the trial will begin. For years, she has been accused of leading an extravagant lifestyle.

The Netanyahu family's legal problems have gripped Israel for more than three years, and in the prime minister's case threaten his political survival.

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Sara's attorneys gave a substantial response, calling the allegations "absurd and delusional", expounding that it was "the first time in Israel and around the world, a leader's wife is prosecuted for food in the hot trays".

Prime Minister Netanyahu is not directly implicated in the current case, but he is being investigated for other allegations of corruption.

Mr Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing, dismissing the accusations against him and his wife as a media witch hunt. In May, Netanyahu announced that the Mossad spy agency had stolen tens of thousands of sensitive nuclear documents from archenemy Iran. In recent months Netanyahu has climbed in the polls, shored up by President Donald Trump's relocation of the American embassy to Jerusalem and the USA withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, two decisions the Israeli leader championed. Israel has also carried out a number of successful airstrikes on Iranian targets in neighbouring Syria, and it has celebrated the USA decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem over strong Palestinian and global objections.

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Suspicions included the misuse of almost $100,000 in official funds for meals supplied by gourmet restaurants to the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem, the ministry said in statement.

Her husband is himself under investigation on suspicion of corruption offences.

The Prime Minister is alleged to have awarded regulatory favours to Bezeq Telecom Israel in return for favourable coverage on a news site the company's owner controls, Israel Radio reported.

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Israeli police have already recommended indicting Netanyahu for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in two separate cases.