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30 May, 2016 12:49

Israeli police recommend indicting Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife over misuse of public funds

Israeli police recommend indicting Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife over misuse of public funds

Police have reportedly recommended filing charges against Sara Netanyahu, wife of Israel’s prime minister alleged misuse of public funds.

Potential charges are allegedly based on three separate counts, including the ordering of food and private chefs for family events, the employment of a carer for Netanyahu’s father, and affairs surrounding the prime minister’s residences, according to Haaretz.

On the latter charge, Ezra Saidoff, deputy director general of the premier’s office, and electrician Avi Fahima, a former Likud Central Committee member, also look set to be indicted.

READ MORE: Taxpayers’ money misspending at Israel PM Netanyahu’s residences probed

A statement from the Israeli police said the investigation had been concluded.

"The case began in February 2015 with the approval of the attorney general and the state prosecutor and focused on a number of issues in connection to which suspicion of the commission of criminal offenses arose, including fraudulent receipt, fraud and breach of trust, including addressing mutual accusations,” it read.

“At the conclusion all of the purported evidence, findings and insights gathered in the police investigation were provided to the Jerusalem district prosecutor - which was involved in the investigation - for its review and decision."  

Sara Netanyahu was previously questioned by police for five hours at the end of 2015 regarding accusations of irregularities in the running of her family households in Jerusalem and Caesarea.

READ MORE: Bottlegate? Netanyahu denies wife pocketed state money in cash-for-bottles scheme

Though she cooperated with authorities, she denied using taxpayers’ money for personal expenses and provided investigators with receipts and pay stubs to uphold her claims.

Investigators accused her of squandering money to purchase expensive lawn furniture and carry out maintenance work in the Netanyahu private villa. She also reportedly used public money for buying alcohol and make-up.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the reports in a statement on his Facebook page.

“In the police statement, there was no recommendation to bring Mrs Netanyahu to trial,” he said. “In contrast to reports, Mrs Netanyahu did not commit any crime.”

The PM was also criticized in 2013 after it was revealed he had a budget of €2,300 (US$ 2,560) specifically for his love of ice-cream, affording his family 14kg of vanilla and pistachio flavored goodness every month.

The recent investigation is based on the findings of a report issued in February 2015 by the State Comptroller, which allegedly found that Mrs Netanyahu had used the funds for her private expenses.

Sara Netanyahu continues to deny any wrongdoing.