Photo: AP
Sara Netanyahu
Photo: AP

Sara Netanyahu questioned for 5 hours on suspicions of corruption

At police's Lahav 433 unit, the prime minister's wife denies suspicions, presenting documents and cheque stubs to support her claims.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara, was questioned under advisement for five hours on Thursday on suspicions of using public funds to pay for private expenses.



Mrs. Netanyahu cooperated with the investigators and denied the suspicions against her.


She arrived at the offices of the police's Lahav 433 unit with documents and cheque stubs to support her claims.


Sara Netanyahu (Photo: Amir Shabi)
Sara Netanyahu (Photo: Amir Shabi)


At this stage, investigators plan on processing the documents and other investigative material and comparing Mrs. Netanyahu's answers to those given by PMO deputy director general Ezra Seidoff, who was questioned at an earlier date and claimed that all of the expenses were made in accordance with the law, and that every expense listed was approved by a special committee.


Seidoff also claimed he does not deal with minor expenses, and that as someone who served several different prime ministers, he has no political affiliation or special connection with the Netanyahu family.


It is not unlikely that the investigators will seek to confront Mrs. Netanyahu with Seidoff in the future.


PMO deputy director general Ezra Seidoff (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
PMO deputy director general Ezra Seidoff (Photo: Gil Yohanan)

Mrs. Netanyahu is suspected of ordering that the expenses of the Netanyahu family's private Residence in Caesarea be funded by the state.


In one instance, she is suspected of hiring electrician Avi Fahima, a member of the Likud center and a close associate of the Netanyahu couple, to do electricity work in the family's private Caesarea residence. He habitually arrived at the Netanyahu family's private home almost every weekend for three months and was paid using taxpayer money.


In her questioning, the prime minister's wife said that she "did not deal with anything that had to do with Avi Fahima, I did not write cheques."


Avi Fahima, on the far right, with Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife Sara at a Mimuna celebration.
Avi Fahima, on the far right, with Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife Sara at a Mimuna celebration.


She is also suspected of purchasing new garden furniture for the official Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem, but moving them to the Caesarea home, while sending the old garden furniture from the Caesarea home to the Jerusalem residence.


Mrs. Netanyahu responded to this that the regulations allow for the state to cover part of the cost of furniture used for hosting. She claimed that the furniture needed repair, saying, "We took the furniture for the weekend from the home in Jerusalem to Caesarea, and then it was returned."


Investigators also looked into suspicions that Mrs. Netanyahu used taxpayer money to pay for her late father's care while he was living at the official Jerusalem residence.


Mrs. Netanyahu presented to investigators cheque stubs, claiming that "these are personal cheques given to the caretaker, from my late father's money."


A state comptroller's report from February 2015 found that the expenses over food in the Prime Minister's residence doubled to half a million shekels in one year. Mrs. Netanyahu is suspected of ordering employees at the Jerusalem home to list more guests than were actually hosted for meals. In some cases, she is suspected of producing false invoices.


Mrs. Netanyahu claimed that she does not deal with the issue of meals at the residence.


The police's request to question Sara Netanyahu was placed on Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein's desk a month ago.


Last week, it was reported that Mrs. Netanyahu's lawyer, Jacob Weinroth, asked the attorney general not to question Mrs. Netanyahu and shelve the investigation, but Weinstein refused. It was also reported that Weinroth cited Mrs. Netanyahu's "mental state" as reason to shelve the investigation, but he denied it.


פרסום ראשון: 01.01.16, 12:09
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