Israeli PM’s wife convicted of misusing state funds, fined around USD 2,800

Tel Aviv: Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was on Sunday convicted of misusing state funds and ordered to pay a fine of 10,000 shekels (around USD 2,800) by a magistrate’s court in Jerusalem.

She asked the court to approve a plea bargain convicting her of fraud and breach of trust.
Under the deal, 60-year-old Sara would reimburse the state 45,000 shekels (around USD 12,500), Al Jazeera reported quoting the justice ministry.

The indictment against Sara was filed in June last year, alleging that she ordered some USD 100,000 worth of catered meals, paid with public funds, by falsely declaring there were no cooks available at the prime minister’s official residence.

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“Indeed, the defendant misused public funds,” said Judge Avital Chen from Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court.
Under the charges in an amended indictment, Sara would plead guilty to exploiting the mistake of another person and pay a fine along with compensation, but corruption charges against her would be dropped.

During her conviction, the prime minister’s wife told the court that she was aware of the charges. Her lawyer and a prosecutor asked Judge Chen to accept the plea deal signed earlier.
Sara signed the deal last week after she had been originally charged with aggravated fraud and breach of trust.

“As in every plea bargain, each side makes concessions, sometimes hard concessions. It is right and proper for the public interest to bring this case to an end,” prosecutor Erez Padan said on Sunday.
“The prosecution is aware there is not a full correlation between the sum (agreed to be paid by Sara) and the criminal offence, however in the framework of the legal procedure, a full correlation is not obligatory,” added Padan.


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