Israeli prime minister's wife, Sara Netanyahu, indicted for fraud

Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was on Thursday officially indicted on charges of aggravated fraud and breach of trust, according to the Justice Ministry.

The indictment charged that Sara Netanyahu and a government employee misused state money by obtaining $100,000 for catered meals while falsely claiming the prime minister’s residence did not employ a cook. Regulations forbid ordering prepared food when a cook is employed at the residence.

The indictment is a major escalation in a lengthy series of criminal investigations involving the Netanyahu family, which have focused on allegations of bribery, graft and fraud. The Israeli leader and his family have vehemently denied any wrongdoing.

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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
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The ongoing investigations took a significant turn last year when Prime Minister Netanyahu’s former chief of staff, Ari Harow, turned state’s witness. Harow reached a deal with prosecutors to avoid jail time in his own fraud case in exchange for cooperating in the investigation into the Netanyahu family.

Israeli media reported last year that Sara Netanyahu was expected to be indicted. Both Sara Netanyahu and the ruling couple’s eldest son, Yair, were questioned earlier in 2017 in relation to graft allegations.

It’s unclear what Sara Netanyahu’s indictment may mean for the many probes that are currently focused on her husband.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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