The Prime Minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, on Wednesday morning signed a plea bargain in the “residences affair,” and an amended indictment against her is expected to be filed today. The hearing is expected to take place next week, when Sara Netanyahu will plead guilty to the amended indictment. The plea deal is subject to a court approval, but no difficulties are anticipated there.
Under the plea bargain, Sara Netanyahu will pay the state 55,000 shekel ($15,000) and will be convicted on a lenient version of the initial charges against her – exploiting the mistake of another person, without a component of fraud.
Mrs. Netanyahu will pay a fine of 10,000 shekel, and return 45,000 shekel to the state coffers.
According to the indictment filed against her last June, Mrs. Netanyahu and the PM’s residence manager Ezra Seidoff fraudulently obtained finance ministry’s funding for hundreds of expensive meals ordered from area restaurants, at a total value of more than 350,000 shekels ($98,000). According to the same original indictment, Sara Netanyahu acted deliberately to bypass the rules that forbid ordering prepared meals for the residence on Jerusalem’s Balfour Street while a full-time cook was employed.
Each month, from April 2009 to March 2013, Netanyahu ordered meals ranging from 444 to 26,061 shekels from a variety of prestigious restaurants and from a hotel in Jerusalem.
two months ago, the State Prosecutor’s Office proposed to the Prime Minister’s wife’s attorneys a plea bargain in which the harsh items against her would be deleted and she would plead guilty to the lighter charge of acceptance of goods through an intentional exploitation of another’s mistake, with emphasis that no deceit was involved. Hence the roughly 85% discount Mrs. Netanyahu received on the size of the monetary penalty.