JERUSALEM-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife has been indicted on charges of fraud for allegedly ordering thousands of dollars of gourmet meals at government expense to the family's official residence.
This is a developing story.
Israeli prosecutors said Sara Netanyahu pretended that there was no chef working at the prime minister's residence in order to claim public money for lavish outside catering, when a chef was in fact already employed on taxpayer's money. Her attorneys have said she did not know she was violating the rules. "There was no fraud or breach of trust or any other offense", said the statement.
The PM was not directly implicated in the case but the charges against Sara Netanyahu threaten to embarrass the long-serving leader and bring back attention to his own legal problems. If convicted, she could face a maximum sentence of five years behind bars for the most serious charge, though that appeared unlikely. It is unclear when the trial will begin.
Sara Netanyahu, 59, is accused of fraudulently obtaining some 100,000 US dollars of public funds for hundreds of meals supplied by restaurants and chefs to the official Prime Minister's Residency in Jerusalem while falsely stating that there were no cooks or staff at home.
Both of the Netanyahus have been the subject of scrutiny by Israeli authorities.
Mr Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing, dismissing the accusations against him and his wife as a media witch hunt.
In what is known as Case 1000, the police accused the prime minister of receiving gifts worth $280,000 from billionaires in exchange for political favors. Her office did not immediately comment on the indictment.
The prime minister dismissed the investigation a year ago, arguing it was a preoccupation with unimportant issues.
Netanyahu has basked in months of political success, including the Trump administration's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and its move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, taking away attention from a series of corruption investigations facing the prime minister.