Sara Netanyahu Agrees To Pay $15000 Over $100000 Catering Scandal

Sara Netanyahu signs plea deal in misuse of funds case, admits lesser charges

Israeli Prime Minister's Wife To Pay $15,000 Over $100,000 Catering Scandal

There were 15 invoices falsified to outside chefs, prosecutors said.

Israeli prime minister's wife Sara Netanyahu signed a plea bargain on Wednesday over allegedly misusing state funds to order gourmet meals, the State Attorney's Office said. Prosecutors said this was done to circumvent limits on how much the prime minister and his family could pay for outside chefs and hide the fact that they employed one.

Netanyahu was originally charged with fraud and breach of trust in June 2018, having ordered meals from high-end restaurants at the expense of the state for almost $100,000, although a cook had been hired to prepare the meals at the residence.

The plea deal, which was finalized in a Jerusalem court Wednesday, saw Mrs. Netanyahu admit to a more minor charge of "intentionally exploiting the mistake of someone else", specifically by misleading officials who didn't realize she already benefited from chefs on the government payroll.

The State Prosecutor's Office issued a statement expressing satisfaction with the plea bargain, saying that it had "kept its word that the matter pertaining to Mrs. Netanyahu and Mr. Saidoff would conclude with a criminal conviction".

The amount of money Netanyahu was accused of spending on meals ordered to the Prime Minister's Residence was reduced from NIS 350,000 in the original indictment to NIS 175,000. In 2016, a court ruled she mistreated a housecleaner and awarded the man $42,000 in damages. Other employees have accused her of abuse, charges the Netanyahus reject.

The deal will be presented before judge on Sunday at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court.

He is up for re-election again in September 17 polls, the second to be held this year after Netanyahu was unable to form a coalition following an April vote.

Sara Netanyahu's case is separate from her husband's legal troubles, which involve suspicions that he accepted illicit gifts, took bribes and tried to arrange favors for media barons in exchange for positive news coverage. Netanyahu is facing an indictment on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, pending a hearing now scheduled for early October. He vehemently denies wrongdoing, portraying himself as a victim of a media-orchestrated witch hunt aimed at ousting him.

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