Netanyahu’s wife charged with $100,000 food delivery fraud

Sara Netanyahu was charged with fraud and breach of trust on June 21, 2018 after a long police probe into allegations she falsified household expenses, the justice ministry said. (Reuters)
Updated 21 June 2018
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Netanyahu’s wife charged with $100,000 food delivery fraud

  • The allegations announced last year are that she and an aide falsely declared there were no cooks available at the prime minister’s official residence and ordered from outside caterers at public expense.
  • Benjamin Netanyahu is also under investigation on suspicion of corruption offenses.

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara was charged Thursday with fraud and breach of trust after a lengthy probe into allegations she misused state funds to claim for delivery meals costing $100,000.
The move represents the latest legal headache for Netanyahu and his family, as the authorities investigate the combative leader over allegations of corruption in a string of eye-catching cases.
The justice ministry announced that “the Jerusalem district prosecutor filed charges against the prime minister’s wife.”
The ministry said Sara Netanyahu, who turns 60 in November, was accused of falsely declaring there were no cooks available at the premier’s official residence and ordering “hundreds of meals from outside caterers at public expense.”
From 2010 to 2013 Netanyahu, her family and guests received “fraudulently from the state hundreds of prepared meals (each including a number of courses) to the value of 359,000 shekels ($99,700),” the indictment read.
Netanyahu, a high-profile presence at her husband’s side throughout his lengthy time at the helm, has denied any wrongdoing.
Her lawyers, in a statement, dismissed the charges as “delusional” and pointed out that she herself had not ordered the meals, many of which were for official guests and in some cases for residence staff.
According to the charge sheet, the meals were ordered from a variety of well-known Jerusalem establishments, including an Italian restaurant, a Middle Eastern grill joint and a sushi establishment.
The trial, which could run for months, is to be held in the Jerusalem magistrates court, with the prosecution requesting a panel of three judges due to the “public sensitivity” of the case.

The legal woes come as Netanyahu’s husband himself is under the microscope on suspicion of a series of corruption offenses.
In one case, the prime minister and his family are suspected of receiving one million shekels worth of luxury cigars, champagne and jewelry from wealthy individuals in exchange for financial or personal favors.
In another case, investigators suspect the premier of trying to reach an agreement with the owner of Yediot Aharonot, a top Israeli newspaper, for more favorable coverage.
Netanyahu has protested his innocence and vowed to remain in power, saying he is the victim of a “witch-hunt.”

 

 


Illegal immigration, refugees top Arab-EU Summit agenda

Updated 44 min 46 sec ago
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Illegal immigration, refugees top Arab-EU Summit agenda

  • Heads of state, officials from EU and Arab League member countries to attend summit today
  • Some 19.5 million people globally have been forced to flee their countries

CAIRO: Egypt on Sunday will host heads of state, government officials and representatives from EU and Arab League member countries, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades and Bahrain’s King Hamad.

Refugees and illegal immigration will top the agenda amid the conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.

Some 19.5 million people globally have been forced to flee their countries. According to the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex), Syrians constitute the largest refugee population in Europe, followed by Eritreans then Afghans. 

According to unofficial statistics, Syrians are also the largest refugee population in the Arab world, followed by Yemenis, Libyans and Sudanese.

Hossam El-Khouli, secretary-general of the Egyptian Nation’s Future Party, said: “The EU … should call for the repatriation of refugees if conditions are appropriate.”

He said: “As for the right of asylum … a number of countries have granted asylum to criminals who have committed violent crimes against their own people and homelands.”

Summit participants intend to debate the necessity of combating this kind of migration, especially given its impact on the security and economy of many countries. 

Margaret Azer, an Egyptian lawmaker, said a country’s economic conditions are one of the main drivers of illegal immigration. 

“The decline of political conditions in several countries is (also) contributing to the rise in numbers of people seeking illegal immigration,” she told Arab News. 

“For example, we see that the biggest percentage of immigrants in Europe are from countries like Syria and Libya. The reason could also be religious or sectarian persecution, as is the case in Myanmar.”

Frontex President Fabrice Leggeri said although the number of migrants arriving in Europe dropped to 150,114 in 2018 compared to 204,750 in 2017, the agency continues to support border controls by providing more workers and technology.