Israeli police announced Sunday afternoon the completion of their investigation into claims of fraud levelled against First Lady Sara Netanyahu, saying that there exists a firm basis for indicting Mrs. Netanyahu for fraud.
The allegations stem from the First Lady’s management of the Prime Minister’s residence and the Netanyahus’ private home in Caesarea.
Sara Netanyahu, who was herself questioned in connection with the case last December, is suspected of using government funds allotted for the Prime Minister’s Office and residence to cover private family expenses.
The police has recommended the state formally charge the First Lady with fraudulent acquisition, fraud, and breach of public trust.
Dubbed the “Residences Scandal”, there are actually three separate allegations in the police report.
The first relates to funding for electrical work done at the private Caesarea estate, where former Likud Central Committee member and long-time Netanyahu acquaintance Avi Fahima was regularly paid to fix problems in the building’s electrical system.
According to the allegations, Fahima was often paid large bonuses, citing special circumstances such as house visits during Yom Kippur. The report also notes that even when Fahima was not listed as an official employee of the residence, he was brought in as a subcontractor.
Police also investigated suspicions that the First Lady transferred furniture purchased for the Prime Minister’s official state residence to the family’s private estate.
The third set of charges revolve around allegations that the First Lady returned thousands of dollars’ worth of recyclable bottles from drinks purchased at the state’s expense, but pocketed the money rather than reimburse the state, as required. Netanyahu later paid some 4,000 shekels to the state, though some have claimed that the value of the bottles recycled from 2009-2013 exceeded 24,000 shekels.