Netanyahu's wife quizzed over suspected misuse of public funds

Jerusalem (AFP) –


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife arrived at a police station Thursday for questioning over allegations the couple used public funds on purchases and repairs for their private home, an AFP photographer said.

Sara Netanyahu is to be questioned as part of a months-long investigation over claims they spent the money on garden furniture and repairing electricals at their private villa in Caesarea.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein ordered the probe in July after claims made primarily by Meni Naftali, who had been fired as the premier's butler.

Among the allegations is that the Netanyahus sent garden furniture bought for the premier's official Jerusalem residence to the Caesarea holiday home.

They also allegedly used Avi Fahima, an electrician friend of the family and former member of the Netanyahu's Likud party central committee for "private" repairs at taxpayer expense, with the bills allegedly having been "artificially inflated".

A third claim involves accusations that Sara Netanyahu pocketed at least $1,000 (917 euros) from deposits on empty bottles returned from the official residence between 2009 and 2013, money that should have gone to the Treasury.

In 2013, Netanyahu reimbursed the state $1,000 but Naftali has said the figure should have been six times higher.

The Netanyahus have dismissed the allegations, widely circulated in the local media, as a smear campaign.