Police to question Sara Netanyahu under caution

Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu  photo: Reuters

The wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is alleged to have falsified expenses.

Sara Netanyahu, wife of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will be questioned under caution this Thursday, sources inform "Globes".

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hand down its ruling on the appeals by those convicted in the Holyland affair, among them former prime minister Ehud Olmert, and will decide whether, for the first time, a former prime minister of Israel will go to prison. "Globes" has learned that, two days later, the wife of a serving prime minister will, for the first time, be questioned under caution by the police.

Mrs. Netanyahu will be questioned over her involvement in what has become known as the prime minister's residences affair. The move has been coordinated between her lawyer, Jacob Weinroth, and police investigators, following attorney general Yehuda Weinstein's approval. Netanyahu, who is suspected of dishonest dealings, denies the accusations against her.

This morning, Hebrew daily "Yediot Ahronot" reported that Sara Netanyahu would be questioned under caution this week. Weinstein received the request to question her a month ago. The affair mainly consists of the suspicion that the Netanyahus presented payments to service providers at their private home in Caesarea as though they related to their official residence in Jerusalem, and thus obtained state funding for their private expenses. In one instance, garden furniture reportedly purchased for the official residence was used at the Caesarea private home.

Another incident being investigated concerns work done by an electrician at the Caesarea home. A report by State Comptroller Joseph Shapira released in February this year found that an electrician called Avi Pahima from Or Akiva was called directly by Sara Netanyahu or her secretary to carry out work at the house, but that it was falsely reported that a different electrician had been employed. The employment of Pahima was contrary to the directive of a committee that consisted of the legal adviser to the Prime Minister's Office, a senior deputy director of administration and human resources, and the Prime Minister's Office financial controller.

The state comptroller stated that the electrician, a friend of the Netanyahus, apparently worked at the Caesarea house almost every weekend, and even on Yom Kippur, but that it was suspected that he did not in fact work there at those times, and that the work was falsely recorded in order to transfer money to the electrician to cover previous debts.

On the incident of the electrician, Weinroth said at the time, "About the electrician, there was a tender process that Bibi and Sara had no part in, and so there can be no claims against them in that regard. They knew nothing about the tender, and so there could be no falsification on their part about who was employed."

Weinroth recently met Weinstein in an attempt to prevent the questioning of Sara Netanyahu, but did not succeed.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 28, 2015

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2015

Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu  photo: Reuters
Benjamin and Sara Netanyahu photo: Reuters
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