The Israeli prime minister and his wife have repeatedly brought suitcases of dirty clothes to be laundered and dry cleaned at the White House during visits, the Washington Post claims, to the vehement denial by Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.
It is not the first time the bizarre allegations have arisen, with Sara Netanyahu having previously been accused of taking several bags of dirty washing along to state visits for hotel staff to clean. The claims, dating back to 2010, emerged during an investigation into alleged misuse of state funds.
In recordings used as evidence during the corruption trial, Shlomit Barnea Farago, Mr Netanyahu’s top legal adviser, discusses alleged misuse of funds with Nir Hefetz, a spokesperson who has since turned state’s witness.
Ms Barnea Farago can be heard saying “that’s misuse of public money, to bring laundry that isn’t used on the trip just so it can be dry-cleaned”, during a discussion of what the pair call ”greedy” demands made by Ms Netanyahu.
While it is customary for guests staying at the White House to have their dirty clothes washed, it is usually only an item or two, due to the short nature of state visits.
More recently, US official has told the Washington Post, under condition of anonymity, that “the Netanyahus are the only ones who bring actual suitcases of dirty laundry for us to clean”.
“After multiple trips, it became clear this was intentional,” the source added.
Israeli officials have called the claims “absurd" but acknowledged that the allegations have been made repeatedly.
The prime minister is currently on trial for fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes. Mr Netanyahu stands accused of accepting some $200,000 (£156, 860) in lavish gifts like cigars and champagne from two billionaires, among other allegations including trying to influence media coverage.
Mr Netanyahu denies all the allegations against him.
Ms Netayanhu was convicted of misusing public funds in July 2019 as part of a plea deal during a case in which she was accused of illegally procuring and then misreporting catering services.
The agreement saw her dodge a conviction for the more serious charge of aggravated fraud, and Ms Netanyahu was ordered to pay a fine of NIS 55,000 (£12,415) to the state.