Israeli police question Sara Netanyahu for misusing public funds

Israel's first lady, Sara Netanyahu, was questioned by police Thursday under suspicion of using public funds for private expenses.

She arrived at the Israel Police's anti-corruption unit in the central Israeli town of Lod, east of Tel Aviv.

Netanyahu, 57, is believed to have hired a close associate and member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party as an electrician. He allegedly visited the Netanyahus' private home almost every weekend for several months and was paid using taxpayers' money.

She also allegedly used taxpayers money to purchase new garden furniture for the official prime minister's residence in Jerusalem, but then moved the items to the Netanyahus' private home in the upscale central coastal town of Caesarea - sending the old garden furniture from the Caesarea home to the house in Jerusalem.

She is also suspected of having used taxpayers' money to pay for her late father's care while he was living at the official Jerusalem residence.

In some cases, Netanyahu is thought to have produced false invoices. 

Israel's attorney general in early 2015 ordered an investigation into allegations that surfaced in February, shortly before Prime Minister Netanyahu was re-elected in March.

The country's state comptroller around the same time also published a highly critical report about overspending at the prime minister's residence

In the past years, several former employees of the first lady have complained of mistreatment and improper conduct.

While her critics paint her as a tyrannical diva, who expects employees to fulfill her every whim and embezzles money that belongs to the public, supporters accuse the complainers of waging a smear campaign against her to win compensation.

Last update: Sat, 02/01/2016 - 08:07

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