Israeli PM's wife accused of fraud in ordering gourmet meals worth $100,000

Doug Stanglin
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu.
Ronen Zvulun | Reuters

Sara Netanyahu, wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was charged by Israeli prosecutors Thursday with fraud and breach of trust involving alleged misuse of public funds to pay for hundreds of gourmet meals.

She was accused of fraudulently ordering hundreds of meals to the prime minister's official residence worth over $100,000 while falsely stating there were no cooks on staff.

Ezra Seidoff, a former deputy director of the prime minister's residence, is also charged in the case, which Israeli newspapers have dubbed the "Prepared Food Affair."

The prime minister, who also faces several police investigations into alleged corruption, has denied any wrongdoing, dismissing the accusations against him and his wife as a media witch hunt.

Sara Netanyahu has long faced allegations of abusive behavior and living extravagantly in a manner out of touch with the general public.

According to the indictment, the prime minister's wife told staff at the official residence to order meals consumed at the residence from gourmet restaurants between 2010 and 2013 in violation of rules barring the residence from ordering meals from the outside during periods when the residence has a cook on its staff.

Investigators allegedly found that the prime minister's wife ordered that the cook's employment be concealed, according to Ha'aretz. The charges also alleged that she and Seidoff falsified invoices to chefs to circumvent limits on how much could be paid toward outside chefs.

The Jerusalem Post notes that when Leah Rabin, wife of then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin, was about to be indicted in 1977 for allegedly maintaining an illegal dollar bank account, Rabin resigned from office over the scandal. The newspaper, however, says there is no indication Netanyahu would step down over the charges against his wife.

Contributing: Associated Press

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