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Criminal indictments loom large for Israeli PM

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Criminal indictments loom for Netanyahu

The threat of criminal indictment that has hung for months over Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, loomed much larger this weekend as it was announced that his wife, Sara, faced potential criminal charges.

Israel's attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, said on Friday that he intended to indict Sara Netanyahu with fraudulently diverting some $100,000 from public funds. The charges carry a maximum sentence of five years in jail.

The case, one of a number of corruption investigations the couple face either jointly or separately, concerns allegations that the prime minister's wife billed the state for excessive sums in running his official residence.

Mandelblit has taken the unusual step of allowing Sara Netanyahu a hearing to present her side of events before indictment - a concession normally reserved for public officials. Many observers assume she will ultimately get a plea deal to avoid jail time.

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