Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has agreed to pay about $15,000 as part of a plea deal to settle allegations that she improperly spent some $100,000 in catering at the prime minister’s residence.
Netanyahu was originally charged with fraud and breach of trust. But this plea agreement is over a lesser crime. According to Haaretz, she’ll be “convicted of receiving something by intentionally exploiting another person’s mistake in a way that doesn’t constitute fraud.”
Israeli media reports that Netanyahu is expected to appear in court on Sunday to admit wrongdoing.
Netanyahu was indicted in the catering scandal in June 2018. As NPR’s Bill Chappell reported at the time, she was accused of ordering prepared meals from fancy restaurants on the public’s dime between 2010 and 2013, even though the prime minister’s residence had a cook. The prosecutors accused her of trying to conceal the cook’s employment and said that ordering food when she had a cook was against official rules.
About $12,500 of the plea deal is to repay the treasury, Haaretz reports, and the remainder is a fine. According to Ynet, the case was in arbitration for six months before the deal was reached; the deal means Netanyahu will not stand trial.
The catering imbroglio is just one of multiple scandals that have engulfed the Netanyahu family. Benjamin Netanyahu was re-elected in April under the cloud of a possible indictment on corruption charges. Israel’s attorney general has been studying three corruption cases in which the prime minister allegedly accepted gifts from wealthy businessmen or traded favors for positive media coverage.
Since his election, Netanyahu has not been able to form a coalition government. He announced late last month that he is calling new elections in September.
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