Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife charged with fraud, Justice Ministry says

JERUSALEM, June 21 (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara, was charged on Thursday with fraud over the alleged misuse of state funds in ordering catered meals at their official residence, the Justice Ministry said.

The indictment charged that Netanyahu, along with a government employee, fraudulently obtained more than $100,000 for hundreds of meals supplied by restaurants, bypassing regulations prohibiting the practice if a cook is employed at the home.

She was charged with aggravated fraud and breach of trust, according to the indictment released by the Justice Ministry to the media.

47 PHOTOS
Sara Netanyahu through the years
See Gallery
Sara Netanyahu through the years
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu stand next to the dedication plaque of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, after the dedication ceremony of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018. Picture taken May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
French President Emmanuel Macron stands by his wife Brigitte Macron (2ndR) who shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu during the opening ceremony of the France-Israel season event in Paris, France, June 5, 2018. Christophe Petit Tesson/Pool via Reuters
French President Emmanuel Macron (C), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and his wife Sara Netanyahu (R) pose during the opening ceremony of the France-Israel season event in Paris, France, June 5, 2018. Christophe Petit Tesson/Pool via Reuters
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara attend an inauguration ceremony for a fortified emergency room at the Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon, southern Israel, February 20, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu sit during a reception held at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, ahead of the moving of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, May 13, 2018. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks to the media next to his wife Sara during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland January 25, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and wife Karen stand next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara ahead of a dinner at the Prime Minister's residence in Jerusalem January 22, 2018. REUTERS/Ariel Schalit/Pool
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara pose with dancers during "Shalom Bollywood" event in Mumbai, India January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara are greeted by Bollywood actress Aishwarya Rai during "Shalom Bollywood" event in Mumbai, India January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade
Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan takes a photo with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his wife Sara and other Bollywood personalities during "Shalom Bollywood" event in Mumbai, India, January 18, 2018. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara disembark from their plane upon their arrival at Air Force Station Palam in New Delhi, India, January 14, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara attend a dedication ceremony of the "Assuta" hospital in Ashdod, Israel December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos (C) gestures next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, outside the presidential palace in Bogota, Colombia September 13, 2017. REUTERS/Jaime Saldarriaga
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and his wife Sara arrive to pay tribute to the memory of victims of the Holocaust at a memorial in the main synagogue in Budapest, Hungary, July 19, 2017. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara Netanyahu visit the Monastirioton synagogue in Thessaloniki, Greece June 15, 2017. REUTERS/Alexandros Avramidis
U.S. first lady Melania Trump (C) sits next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife Sara (L) and Nechama Reuven, wife of Israeli president Reuven Rivlin, upon her arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod near Tel Aviv, Israel May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
U.S. President Donald Trump (2nd L) and first lady Melania Trump (3rd L) walk with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2nd R), his wife Sara (R) and David Friedman (Center back), the new United States Ambassador to Israel, upon their arrival at Ben Gurion International Airport in Lod near Tel Aviv, Israel May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Amir Cohen TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Sara Netanyahu (2nd R), wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, arrives at a cafe with Lucy Turnbull, wife of Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, in Sydney, Australia, February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Rycroft/Pool
U.S. first lady Melania Trump (R) escorts Sara Netanyahu along the Colonnade at the White House in Washington, U.S. February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump (2ndR) and first lady Melania Trump meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara (L) in the Oval Office of White House in Washington, U.S., February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara pose for photographers after a memorial ceremony for late mayor of Ariel, Ron Nachman, in the Israeli settlement of Ariel in the occupied West Bank February 2, 2017. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
U.S. first lady Melania Trump (R) leads the way for Sara Netanyahu (L) prior to a joint news conference between their husbands, President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and his wife Sara attend the the the 2016 Genesis Prize in Jerusalem, June 23, 2016. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and his wife Sara (C) attend a ceremony marking the completion of a structural reinforcement project for residences in communities close to the Gaza Strip, in the southern Israeli town of Sderot July 28, 2016. REUTERS/Amir Cohen
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara stand with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (L) in front of the painting 'Camp Synagogue In Saint-Cyprien' by Felix Nussbaum as they visit the exhibition 'Art From The Holocaust' in Berlin, Germany, February 16, 2016. REUTERS/BILD/Daniel Biskup/Pool
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) and his wife Jill (2nd L) pose for a photograph with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and his wife Sara, before their meeting in Jerusalem March 9, 2016. REUTERS/Debbie Hill/Pool
Sara Netanyahu (C) stands next to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (3rd-L) as they attend the Jewish Federations of North America 2015 General Assembly in Washington November 10, 2015. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assured U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday that he remained committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as they sought to mend ties strained by acrimony over Middle East diplomacy and Iran. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and his wife Sara are seen as they vacation in Israel, in this Government Press Office (GPO) handout picture taken April 8, 2015. Picture taken April 8. REUTERS/GPO/Handout via Reuters THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara (L) attend a reinterment ceremony for Lieutenant-Colonel John Henry Patterson and his wife Frances in the agricultural cooperative of Avihayil, north of Netanya December 4, 2014. Patterson, a British commander of the Jewish Legion during World War I, died in 1947 and his ashes were brought to Israel and re-buried on Thursday. REUTERS/Nir Elias (ISRAEL - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY OBITUARY)
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara arrive in Ottawa May 30, 2010. REUTERS/Blair Gable (CANADA - Tags: POLITICS)
Valerie Trierweiler (L), the companion of French President Francois Hollande, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife Sara Netanyahu, walk together during an official reception upon Hollande's arrival at Ben Gurion airport near Tel Aviv November 17, 2013. Hollande arrived on Sunday for a three-day state visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories. REUTERS/Nir Elias (ISRAEL - Tags: POLITICS)
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Natanyahu and his wife Sara arrive at a ceremony to honour Israel's late leaders in the President's residence in Jerusalem April 6. Police recommended last week that Netanyahu be charged with fraud, attempts to misuse state funds, breach of trust and obstruction of justice, and that his wife Sara be charged with theft and attempts to misuse state funds. NB
Sara Netanyahu, wife of [former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu], waves on leaving her residence after Israeli police investigators searched her home October 20. The police fraud squad, who have been investigating suspicions that Netanyahu and his wife Sara had billed the government for private labour work carried out by a contractor, also searched Netanyahu's office and seized dozens of expensive gifts they said the couple kept illegally after he was voted from office in the May 1999 general election. (ISRAEL OUT)
U.S. President Bill Clinton looks at photographs as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara pay a morning breakfast call on the president and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in the president's hotel suite overlook the Old City walls of Jerusalem December 13. Later the two leaders went to Netanyahu's office for their working meeting. Clinton began his uphill battle today of salvaging the Wye RIver peace accords which appears on the brink of collapse only seven weeks after its signing.
First lady Hillary Clinton, the wife of U.S. President Bill Clinton, stands next to Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as she gives a speech to the people at Hippy (home instruction program for pre-school youngsters) December 13. Clinton is on a three-day visit to Israel and Palestinian-ruled Gaza to try to save the Wye River deal he mediated in October. RH/ME
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara listen to speeches during a commemoration ceremony at the end of the March of the Living at the former Birkenau concentration camp April 23. More than 7,000 Jews from 42 countries including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek took a part in the march to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust. This year is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. REUTERS
Sara Netanyahu (R) talks with her guest Nane Annan in the prime minister's residence at the same time [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was holding a meeting in his office with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan ] March 24. Annan is in the Middle East on the sixth leg of his tour of the region. (ISRAEL OUT)
Tipper Gore (R), wife of United States Vice President Al Gore, speaks with a young Israeli girl at the Wailing Wall during an outing with Sara Netanyahu, wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, (C) while their husbands were in a meeting May 1. The Gores came to Israel to attend the 50th anniversary celebrations before going on to other Middle East locations. JWH/ME
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shows off a baby alligator at an alligator farm on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights August 19 as his wife Sara(C) and eldest son Yair (L) watch. The Netanyahus on holiday at the nearby Sea of Galilee, had a security scare earlier in the day when a car rammed a police barricade hear their hotel. Police, searching for the driver of the car that sped away, said they did not believe the incident was a deliberate attempt to attack the prime minister, who was on the third floor of the hotel at the time. HL/AA
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (C) smiles as his wife Sara (L) chats with actor Arnold Schwarzeneggar upon their arrival November 17 at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Beverly Hills,Ca. Netanyahu will cut short his two day visit and fly to London later in the evening. NETANYAHU
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2ndR) gestures as his wife Sara (R) and other guests listen to him during a dinner hosted by Klaus Schwab, Founder and President of the World Economic Forum, in the hotel "Schweizerhof" in Davos, February 1. Palestinian President Yasser-Arafat was also amongst the guests. **POOR QUALITY DOCUMENT**
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, (R), and his wife Sara ride December 10, camels in the desert sunlight as they vacation in the Negev desert in southern Israel. ISRAEL
- JUNE 1996 FILE PHOTO - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sits with his arm around his wife Sara as she accompanies her husband on the podium during Netanyahu's election victory ceremony, in this June 2 file photo.
Israeli Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu (C), accompanied by his wife Sara and surrounded by secret service bodyguards, makes his way through the press to the Knesset (parliament) to ask parliament to approve his new government June 18. In his speech Netanyahu called on Arab states to renew talks with his right-wing government, saying he hoped to lead the Middle East towards an era of peace.
The right-wing Likud party's prime ministerial candidate Benjamin Netanyahu holds hands with his wife Sara during a photo opportunity in his hotel suite May 30 where they have been holed up since yesterday's elections
Likud party leader and prime ministerial candidate Benjamin Netanyahu begins to drop both his ballots into the ballot box as his wife Sara watches May 29 in Israel?s first direct election of a prime minister May 29. At the urging of journalists he then dropped one ballot at a time. Sarah, who voted before her husband, holds her Israeli identity card. Netanyahu and Prime Minister Shimon-Peres are running neck-in-neck in the race for prime minister
Likud party leader and prime ministerial candidate Benjamin Netanyahu waves may 29 as he and his wife Sara leave the polling station after voting in Israel's first direct election of a prime minister May 29. Netanyahu spoke confidently of winning the race which Israeli pollsters say are about evenly split between Netanyahu and incumbent Prime Minister Shimon-Peres
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The prime minister, who himself is embroiled in a series of corruption investigations, has called the allegations against his wife absurd and unfounded.

Sara Netanyahu, 59, has inspired a multitude of headlines in the past over what family spokesmen call an undeserved reputation for imperiousness.

It seemed unlikely the latest case could cause significant political damage to her husband, now in his fourth term as Israel’s leader and riding high in opinion polls despite the allegations against him.

(Writing by Maayan Lubell, editing by Jeffrey Heller, Larry King)

11 PHOTOS
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
See Gallery
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on January 22, 2017. / AFP / POOL / RONEN ZVULUN (Photo credit should read RONEN ZVULUN/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 21: (L to R) Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to U.S. President Barack Obama during a bilateral meeting at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel, September 21, 2016 in New York City. Last week, Israel and the United States agreed to a $38 billion, 10-year aid package for Israel. Obama is expected to discuss the need for a 'two-state solution' for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Pool Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 22: Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, September 22, 2016 in New York City. According to the UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, the most pressing matter to be discussed at the General Assembly is the world's refugee crisis. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - NOVEMBER 18: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a press conference on November 18, 2014 in Jerusalem, Israel. Netanyahu said incitement by the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Islamic Jihad led to a terrorist attack in a Jerusalem synagogue, which killed four worshippers and wounded several others. (Photo by Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JUNE 02: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) speaks with Military Secretary Eyal Zamir during the weekly cabinet meeting in his office on June 2, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Photo by Sebastian Scheiner - Pool/Getty Images)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the press in the southern Israeli port of Eilat, on March 10, 2014, as Israel displayed advanced rockets type M-302 capable of reaching distances of up to 200 km that were unloaded from the Panamanian-flagged Klos-C vessel on March 9, 2014 in the southern Israeli port of Eilat. The vessel, which was allegedly transporting arms from Iran to Gaza, was escorted into the port of Eilat after Israeli naval commandos seized it on March 5, 2014. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JANUARY 22: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touches the Western Wall, Judaism holiest site, on January 22, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. The latest opinion polls suggest that current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will return to office, albeit with a reduced majority. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JANUARY 22: (ISRAEL OUT) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu casts his ballot at a polling station on election day on January 22, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. Israel's general election voting has begun today as polls show Netanyahu is expected to return to office with a narrow majority. (Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
SDE BOKER, ISRAEL - NOVEMBER 20: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli President Shimon Peres attend the annual memorial ceremony for David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister, in Sde Boker on November 20, 2012 in southern Israel. Hamas militants and Israel are continuing talks aimed at a ceasefire as the death toll in Gaza reaches over 100 with three Israelis also having been killed by rockets fired by Palestinian militants. (Photo by Dan Balilty - Pool /Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, delivers an address to the 66th General Assembly Session at the United Nations on September 23, 2011 in New York City. The annual event, which is being dominated this year by the Palestinian's bid for full membership, gathers more than 100 heads of state and government for high level meetings on nuclear safety, regional conflicts, health and nutrition and environment issues. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - APRIL 10: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his offices on April 10, 2011 in Jerusalem, Israel. Both Israel and Hamas have expressed a willingness to call a truce to cross-border violence that in the past few days has claimed at least 19 Palestinian lives in retaliatory Israeli air strikes. (Photo by Jim Hollander - Pool/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story