Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara, charged with fraud for ordering catered meals at their official residence worth $100,000 while falsely stating there were no cooks on staff, justice ministry says.

Sara Netanyahu, 59, has long faced allegations of abusive behaviour and living extravagantly in a manner out of touch with the general public.
Sara Netanyahu, 59, has long faced allegations of abusive behaviour and living extravagantly in a manner out of touch with the general public. (Reuters)

Israeli prosecutors on Thursday charged Sara Netanyahu, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, with a series of crimes including fraud and breach of trust.

She stands accused of misusing public funds by 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, the justice ministry said in a statement.

A former deputy director of the prime minister's residence is also charged in the case.

Haaretz  reporting the indictment said Sara directed staff at the residence, including the chief maintenance superintendent at the time, Meni Naftali, and another employee, Meir Cohen, to hide the fact that cooks were employed in the residence "so that this won't be found out by the treasury and the office manager."

Naftali then passed this order on to other residence staff, Haaretz reported.

Abusive behaviour

Sara Netanyahu, 59, has long faced allegations of abusive behaviour and living extravagantly in a manner out of touch with the general public.

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

Prime Minister Netanyahu also faces several police investigations into alleged corruption. 

Media witch hunt?

Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing, dismissing the accusations against him and his wife as a media witch hunt.

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.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies