May 29, 2019 / 2:00 PM / 3 months ago

Netanyahu's wife reaches plea bargain in meals fraud case: Israel Radio

Sara Netanyahu, wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, holds a rose, which symbolises peace, during the "Changing of the Rose" ceremony at the National Palace in Guatemala City, Guatemala December 11, 2018. REUTERS/Luis Echeverria

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, has reached a plea bargain in a fraud case over allegedly misusing state funds to order catered meals, Israel Radio said on Wednesday.

Under the agreement, she will pay the state 45,000 shekels ($12,400) in reimbursement and a 10,000-shekel fine while admitting a lesser charge, the report said.

According to the original indictment, Sara Netanyahu, along with a government employee, fraudulently obtained from the state more than $100,000 for hundreds of meals supplied by restaurants, bypassing regulations that prohibit the practice if a cook is employed at home.

The deal was reached in a six-month-long mediation process and will go into effect after it is ratified by a judge, the radio reported.

A spokesman for the Netanyahu family declined to comment. Prosecutors were not immediately available for comment.

The prime minister is embroiled in legal woes of his own - three corruption cases in which he has denied wrongdoing - and a political crisis that could force him to call a new national election later on Wednesday.

In February, Israel’s attorney general said he intended to file fraud and bribery charges against Benjamin Netanyahu, pending a pre-trial hearing. That session is set for October.

Writing by Jeffrey Heller; editing by John Stonestreet

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