Israeli police have recommended that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara, be arrested and indicted on counts of fraud, Israeli daily Haaretz reported Sunday.
Israel’s Gigantic Nuclear Elephant
The indictment concerns Netanyahu's administration of the prime minister's state-owned home in Jerusalem, and whether or not she used government funds to pay for improvements to their private home in Caesarea, a town located midway between Tel Aviv and Haifa, on the coastal plain near the city of Hadera.
"The national unit of the Israeli Police has concluded its investigation of the prime minister's residences," a police statement read.
"The case began in February 2015 with the approval of the attorney general and the state prosecutor and focused on a number of issues in connection to which suspicion of the commission of criminal offenses arose, including fraudulent receipt, fraud and breach of trust, including addressing mutual accusations," it adds.
The report continues: "At the conclusion all of the purported evidence, findings and insights gathered in the police investigation were provided to the Jerusalem district prosecutor — which was involved in the investigation — for its review and decision."
There are three areas that concern Israeli authorities. The first is the Netanyahu's employment of Avi Fahima, a former Central Committee member of the ruling Likud party, who has been close to Benjamin Netanyahu for years and often did work at the Caesarea residence in the years when Netanyahu was out of office. Fahima allegedly worked for the Netanyahus on state holidays at inflated rates.
The second involves Netanyahu pocketing bottle refunds for drinks purchased by the Israeli state for official functions. When the bottles were returned for recycling, the Prime Minister's wife pocketed refunds to the tune of 24,000 Israeli shekels, or about US$6,200.
The third issue is Netanyahu's purchase, with state funds, of new furniture for the official residence in Jerusalem which was then transferred to their private home in Caesarea.
"The police have found an evidentiary basis for indictments against Sara Netanyahu, Fahima and against Ezra Seidoff, the deputy director general of the Prime Minister's office," Haaretz reports.
However, the police statement was strange in that it did not specifically mention any of the three accused.
It isn't the first time an Israeli prime minister has been embroiled in a corruption scandal. In March 2015, Prime Minister Netanyahu's predecessor, Ehud Olmert, was convicted of fraud, breach of trust, and tax evasion.
Olmert was sentenced to eight months in prison, and fined US$25,000. His sentence is stayed until his legal team finishes the appeal process.