Skip to main content

Sara Netanyahu convicted of misusing public funds

Initial fraud charges dropped under a plea bargain which saw the Israeli prime minister's wife admit to lesser charges
Three years ago, a labour court found Netanyahu had insulted and raged at household staff (Reuters)

An Israeli court on Sunday convicted the wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of fraudulently using state funds for meals, under a plea bargain which saw her admit to lesser charges.

Sara Netanyahu, 60, was found guilty of exploiting someone else's mistake and told to pay a fine and compensation, in a deal that was approved by Jerusalem's Magistrates Court justice Avital Chen.

When she was initially charged, Netanyahu was accused of fraud and a breach of trust for buying catered meals despite the presence of a full time cook at the prime minister's official residence. 

In a deal negotiated between Netanyahu and the courts, an amended indictment, approved on Sunday, dropped the charges of fraud.

"The deal reached between the sides is worthy and appropriately reflects the deeds and their severity on the criminal level," Chen said in their ruling.  

Multitude of headlines

Netanyahu was also fined 10,000 shekels ($2,800) and ordered to reimburse the state a further $12,495, the latter of which she will pay in nine installments, after it was requested by Netanyahu. 

Sara Netanyahu quizzed by fraud squad over misuse of funds
Read More »

The 60-year-old has been a constant high-profile presence throughout her husband's long tenure. 

She has elicited a multitude of headlines in the past over what family spokesmen have decried as an undeserved reputation for imperiousness.

Three years ago, a labour court found she had insulted and raged at household staff, and it awarded about $40,000 to the former chief caretaker of the prime minister's residence in a civil suit against the government over alleged mistreatment and unfulfilled promises of tenure.