Mon. May 20th, 2024

Sen. Bob Menendez indicted again for corruption, allegedly had cash stuffed in coat, gold bars

A federal grand jury in New York has returned a sweeping indictment against United States Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., chairman of the powerful Foreign Relations Committee, in connection with improper foreign relations and business dealings.

The investigation focused on a luxury car, gold bars and an apartment allegedly received by Menendez and his wife, Nadine Arslanian. His wife was also indicted.

The indictment charges Menendez, 69, and his wife with having a corrupt relationship with three New Jersey businessmen — Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daides.

The indictment accuses Menendez and his wife of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes in exchange for using the senator’s power and influence to seek to protect and enrich the businessman.

“Those bribes included cash, gold, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxury vehicle, and other things of value,” the indictment said.

PHOTO: Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., right, and his wife Nadine Arslanian, pose for a photo on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022.
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., right, and his wife Nadine Arslanian, pose for a photo on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022.
Susan Walsh/AP, FILE

This is the second time New Jersey’s senior senator has been charged with corruption. A 2015 indictment ended in a mistrial in 2018 after a jury failed to reach a verdict on all counts and a judge acquitted him on some charges.

The previous charges against Menendez centered on his relationship with Florida eye doctor Solomon Melgen, a close ally of the senator. Menendez allegedly accepted gifts from Melgen in exchange for using the power of his senate office to benefit the doctor’s financial and personal interests.

Menendez is facing reelection next year and will have to step down as the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Rules for the Senate Democratic caucus say that any member who is charged with a felony must step aside from a leadership position. However, according to a person close to Menendez, the senator will not resign.

“For years, forces behind the scenes have repeatedly attempted to silence my voice and dig my political grave,” Menendez said in a statement about the indictment. “Since this investigation was leaked nearly a year ago, there has been an active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exists.”

He continued, “I have been falsely accused before because I refused to back down to the powers that be and the people of New Jersey were able to see through the smoke and mirrors and recognize I was innocent.”

Danny Onorato, a lawyer representing Nadine Menendez, said in a statement to ABC News, “Mrs. Menendez denies any wrongdoing and will vigorously defend against these allegations in court.”

PHOTO: A photo of a jacket and cash from the indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez, found during a 2022 search by federal agents. Investigators found over $480,000 in cash in his New Jersey home.
A photo of a jacket and cash from the indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez, found during a 2022 search by federal agents. Investigators found over $480,000 in cash in his New Jersey home.
U.S. Southern District of New York
PHOTO: A photo of a jacket and cash from the indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez, found during a 2022 search by federal agents. Investigators found over $480,000 in cash in his New Jersey home.
A photo of a jacket and cash from the indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez, found during a 2022 search by federal agents. Investigators found over $480,000 in cash in his New Jersey home.
U.S. Southern District of New York

In June 2022, federal agents searched Menendez’s New Jersey home and found “fruits” of the pair’s “corrupt bribery agreement” with the three businessmen, according to the indictment. Investigators found over $480,000 in cash, some stuffed in envelopes and hidden in clothing, as well as $70,000 in Nadine Menendez’s safe deposit box.

Also found in the home were over $100,000 worth of gold bars, “provided by either Hana or Daibes,” according to the indictment.

Menendez allegedly gave sensitive U.S. government information “that secretly aided the Government of Egypt” and “improperly advised and pressured” a U.S. agricultural official to protect an exclusive contract for Hana to be the exclusive purveyor of halal meat to Egypt, according to the indictment.

PHOTO: A photo of a gold bar from the indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez, found during a 2022 search by federal agents. According the the indictment, over $100,000 in gold bars were found in his New Jersey home.
A photo of a gold bar from the indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez, found during a 2022 search by federal agents. According the the indictment, over $100,000 in gold bars were found in his New Jersey home.
U.S. Southern District of New York

Menendez also tried to disrupt a criminal investigation into a second businessman in the trucking industry that had been undertaken by the New Jersey attorney general, the indictment said.

The senator is also accused of recommending someone to the president to be the U.S. attorney in New Jersey who he thought he could influence. Philip Sellinger was ultimately confirmed to the post. He recused himself from the investigation and has not been accused of wrongdoing.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said, “U.S. Attorney Sellinger was recused from the Daibes matter and all activity by the office related to that matter was handled appropriately according to the principles of federal prosecution.”

“They wrote these charges as they wanted; the facts are not as presented,” Menendez said in his statement. “Prosecutors did that the last time and look what a trial demonstrates. People should remember that before accepting the prosecutor’s version.”

Menendez appears to be the first senator to ever be indicted on two unrelated criminal charges while in office, according to the Senate Historical Office.

“The FBI has made investigating public corruption a top priority since our founding — nothing has changed,” FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith said in a statement. “The alleged conduct in this conspiracy damages the public’s faith in our system of government and brings undue scorn to the honest and dedicated public servants who carry out their duties on a daily basis.”

Daibes, also named as a defendant, ultimately pleaded guilty last year in New Jersey to separate charges and is awaiting sentencing.

A spokesperson for Hana also rejected the claims in the indictment, saying, “We are still reviewing the charges but based upon our initial review, they have absolutely no merit. Mr. Hana is expected to voluntarily return to the U.S. from Egypt and appear in court on Wednesday.”

All five individuals are due in Manhattan federal court on Sept. 27. source


Federal agents found more than $480,000 in cash ‘stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing’ in Sen. Bob Menendez’s home, indictment says

  • Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey has been indicted on bribery charges.
  • Federal agents found cash “stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing” in his home.
  • This is the second time Menendez has been charged with bribery.

Federal agents found more than $480,000 in cash hidden in Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez’s home, according to the newly-unsealed indictment against the New Jersey senator.

Menendez is facing bribery charges for the second time in six years.

According to the indictment, federal agents executed search warrants on the New Jersey senator’s home in June 2022, where they found the “fruits” of the bribery agreement that Menendez and his wife, Nadine, had allegedly made with three New Jersey businessmen.

That included more than $480,000 in cash that was “stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe.”

The indictment alleges that the fingerprints of one of the businessmen were found on some of the envelopes, and that some of the envelopes were “found inside jackets” emblazoned with Menendez’s name.

Exhibits from the federal indictment showing cash on top of Menendez's jackets.
Exhibits from the federal indictment showing cash on top of Menendez’s jackets. 
US District Court for the Southern District of New York

In a defiant statement on the indictment, Menendez said that he’s the victim of a “smear campaign” and that prosecutors have “misrepresented the normal work of a Congressional office.”

“Those behind this campaign simply cannot accept that a first-generation Latino American from humble beginnings could rise to be a US senator,” said Menendez.

Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been accused by federal prosecutors of accepting bribes in return for secretly aiding the Egyptian government.

Specifically, the indictment alleges that “provided sensitive US government information and took other steps that secretly aided the Government of Egypt” in exchange for gifts that included gold bars.

Additionally, Menendez is accused of plotting to give IS EG Halal Certified, a New Jersey company, a monopoly on halal certification on US food exports to Egypt. Nadine Menendez was allegedly also offered a “low-or-no-show job” at the company by businessman Wael “Will” Hana, a long-time friend.

Menendez was previously put on trial for totally separate bribery charges back in 2017. The charges were later dropped, and Menendez went on to win re-election in 2018. source


Sen. Robert Menendez Indicted: Stunning Details of Gold Bars, Cash and Egyptian Influence Peddling

Prosecutors allege the Foreign Relations Committee chairman accepted bribes including ‘cash, gold, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job [and] a luxury vehicle’

shiny, new Mercedes-Benz C-300 convertible.

Gold bars valued at more than $100,000.

Stacks of crisp one-hundred-dollar bills atop a jacket marked “Senator Menendez.”

Those are some of the extraordinary images punctuating the 39-page indictment unsealed Friday charging U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and others with bribery.

Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is accused – along with his wife, Nadine Menendez – of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes–including “cash, gold, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxury vehicle, and other things of value,” in exchange for using his power and influence to benefit three businessmen and the Republic of Egypt between 2018 and 2022.

Among the allegations are that Menendez recommended that President Joe Biden nominate lawyer who Menendez believed he could influence in a matter related to one of the businessmen to be the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey. The indictment also alleges Menendez “provided sensitive U.S. Government information and took other steps that secretly aided the Government of Egypt” as part of the alleged bribery scheme.

In a statement Friday, Menendez said he had been “falsely accused.”

“To my supporters, friends and the community at large, I ask that you recall the other times the prosecutors got it wrong and that you reserve judgement,” he said. “I am confident that this matter will be successfully resolved once all of the facts are presented and my fellow New Jerseyans will see this for what it is.”

David Schertler, a lawyer for Nadine Menendez, said in a statement that she “denies any criminal conduct and will vigorously contest these charges in court.”

Among its most serious and stunning allegations, the indictment alleges that investigators found “over $480,000 in cash—much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe” at the Menendez’s home.

The indictment includes two pictures showing mounds of cash stacked on top of jackets.

One jacket, embroidered with “Robert Menendez” on one lapel and the seal of the United States Senate on the other, is pictured with stacks of twenty- and fifty-dollar bills. Another jacket, embroidered with “Senator Menendez” shows a more disordered array of hundred-dollar bills and empty white envelopes.

During the same June 2022 search that uncovered that cash, investigators allegedly found furniture and a luxury vehicle allegedly paid for by the businessmen, “as well as over one hundred thousand dollars’ worth of gold bars in the home.”

The indictment depicts two gold bars, both stamped with “1 Kilo,” short for one kilogram.

In October 2021, the day after returning from a trip to Egypt, the indictment alleges Menendez “performed a web search for ‘how much is one kilo of gold worth.'”

Menendez has served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since 2021, and before that served as its top-ranking Democrat from 2018 to 2021.

In exchange for the alleged bribes, Menendez is accused of pressuring a U.S. Department of Agriculture official to protect a business monopoly granted by the Egyptian government on the certification of U.S. food exports to Egypt, and trying to disrupt a New Jersey criminal prosecution.

The indictment recounts a number of alleged interactions between Egyptian officials, Egyptian businessmen, and the Menendez’s.

In one such meeting, the indictment alleges that Nadine Menendez arranged a meeting between Sen. Robert Menendez and a senior Egyptian intelligence official at a Washington, D.C. hotel shortly before the official met with other senators. Two days later, the indictment alleges, one of the Egyptian businessmen purchased 22 one-ounce gold bars valued at $1,800 per ounce. Two of those gold bars were later found at the search of the Menendez’s home.

The indictment demands that the senator and his wife forfeit to the government all property “derived from proceeds traceable to the commission” of the alleged crimes, including their residence in Englewood Ciffs, N.J.; $486,461 in U.S. currency seized from their residence; $79,760 seized from a safe deposit box; two one-kilogram gold bars; 11 one-ounce gold bars and the Mercedes-Benz convertible.

Menendez has faced federal bribery allegations before. In 2015, he was indicted on charges including bribery and fraud related to his alleged ties to a Florida opthamologist. A mistrial was declared after a jury failed to reach a verdict in 2017, and the Justice Department dropped the charges in January 2018.

This is a developing story and will be updated. source