Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated 
By Francis Whittaker and Reuters

Sara Netanyahu, wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was charged with fraud on Thursday for allegedly misusing over $100,000 in public funds to order lavish meals from some of the country's most famous chefs, a court spokesperson said.

The indictment charged that Netanyahu, along with a government employee, fraudulently obtained more than $100,000 for hundreds of meals supplied by restaurants, bypassing regulations prohibiting the practice if a cook is employed at the home.

She was charged with aggravated fraud and breach of trust, according to the indictment released by the Justice Ministry.

If convicted, she could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison, though that seemed unlikely. It was unclear when her trial would begin.

A former deputy director of the prime minister's residence is also charged in the case.

Sara's indictment is the latest development in a series of scandals embroiling the Netanyahu family. In February, police recommended that the prime minister be indicted on charges of corruption and bribery.

Netanyahu was accused of receiving cigars, champagne and jewelry worth "hundreds of thousands of shekels" from Hollywood mogul Arnon Milchan and other supporters in exchange for pushing a law insuring that Israelis returning from living abroad are exempt from paying tax for 10 years.

Bibi, as he is known, is also accused of working out a deal for favorable coverage with Arnon "Noni" Moses, the publisher of an Israeli newspaper, Yediot Aharonot, in exchange for backing a bill that would weaken a rival newspaper.

Sara Netanyahu, 59, has inspired a multitude of headlines in the past over what family spokesmen call an undeserved reputation for imperiousness.

It seemed unlikely the latest case would cause significant political damage to her husband, now in his fourth term as Israel’s leader and riding high in opinion polls despite the allegations against him.

The prime minister has called the allegations against his wife absurd and unfounded, claiming they're the victims of a political witch hunt and hostile media.

Paul Goldman contributed.