Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was on Thursday officially indicted on charges of aggravated fraud and breach of trust, according to the Justice Ministry.
The indictment charged that Sara Netanyahu and a government employee misused state money by obtaining $100,000 for catered meals while falsely claiming the prime minister’s residence did not employ a cook. Regulations forbid ordering prepared food when a cook is employed at the residence.
The indictment is a major escalation in a lengthy series of criminal investigations involving the Netanyahu family, which have focused on allegations of bribery, graft and fraud. The Israeli leader and his family have vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
The ongoing investigations took a significant turn last year when Prime Minister Netanyahu’s former chief of staff, Ari Harow, turned state’s witness. Harow reached a deal with prosecutors to avoid jail time in his own fraud case in exchange for cooperating in the investigation into the Netanyahu family.
Israeli media reported last year that Sara Netanyahu was expected to be indicted. Both Sara Netanyahu and the ruling couple’s eldest son, Yair, were questioned earlier in 2017 in relation to graft allegations.
It’s unclear what Sara Netanyahu’s indictment may mean for the many probes that are currently focused on her husband.