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Friday, September 8, 2017

Israeli Prime Minister's Wife to Stand Trial over Corruption Charges

Widely-expected indictment on charges related to misuse of public funds is first formal filing in several investigations into the prime minister, Netanyahu and members of his inner circle.
 
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Sara
 
Sara Netanyahu, wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is to face trial over alleged misuse of public funds, Attorney General Avichai Mandelbilt has said.
 
Mr Mandelbilt will accept the police's recommendation Ms Netenyahu be indicted and file an indictment subject to hearing against her, according to a statement from the Justice Ministry released on Friday.
 
Ms Netanyahu has been variously accused of using money set aside for the prime minister’s official residence for furniture and improvements to the pair’s private home, hiring Likud Party central committee member Avi Fahima as an electrician against official advice, paying for her elderly father’s care, inflating dinner party numbers to hire private chefs, and pocketing 23,000 shekels (£4,800) in recycling refunds.
 
She denies any wrongdoing.
 
Earlier this week Ms Netanyahu took a polygraph test ahead of the expected indictment on her “own initiative” in order to “prove her version of events” before the attorney general made his decision, which was widely expected on Friday.  
 
The lie detector found she answered truthfully questions related to the alleged misuse of funds – including replying “no” to the question “Were you aware in real time of the breaking of rules regarding the ordering of food and other items for the prime minister’s residence?”
 
Polygraph test results are not admissible as evidence under Israeli law, but can be submitted as an “indication of events”. 
 
Mr Mandelbilt's office accepted the police's recommendation that Ms Netanyahu be indicted after two years of investigations triggered by a state comptroller report into excessive spending at the residence - and a lengthy final interrogation by Israel’s national fraud squad last month. 

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