Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, was convicted Sunday of taking unfair advantage of a mistake, after earlier confessing to the offense as part of a plea deal signed last week in a case involving allegations of illegally procured catering services at the Prime Minister’s Residence.
“Indeed, the defendant misused public funds,” judge Avital Chen said in announcing the verdict, while admitting the case for the prosecution had not been smooth. He noted Netanyahu’s lack of previous convictions and the fact that she had “taken responsibility and saved a lot of precious judicial time.”
After the verdict was announced, Netanyahu told the judge: “I have suffered enough.”
The agreement saw Netanyahu escape a conviction of aggravated fraud, but confess to the lesser charge. She will pay NIS 55,000 ($15,210) — NIS 10,000 as a fine, and the rest as restitution.
A year ago, Sara Netanyahu and Ezra Saidoff, a former caretaker at the Prime Minister’s Residence, were charged with fraud and breach of trust for spending $100,000 of state funds on catered meals while there was a full-time chef on staff.