Democratic senator accused of large bribes. Photo: Infobae
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey and his wife, Nadine Menendez, have been accused of accepting "hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes" in exchange for "protecting and enriching businessmen and benefiting the Government of Egypt," the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York announced Friday.
"Senator Menendez used his power and influence, including his leadership role on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to benefit the Government of Egypt in a variety of ways; among other actions, the senator allegedly provided confidential U.S. government information to Egyptian officials and took steps to secretly assist the government of Egypt," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams told a news conference Friday.
The bribes, according to the Prosecutor's Office, that the Menéndez family received from at least 2018 to 2022 were: cash, gold, mortgage payments, a job in which an almost zero presence was demanded for Nadine and a Mercedes-Benz vehicle.
Williams also noted that when FBI agents searched the senator's residence and safe they found "approximately $500,000 in cash, stuffed into envelopes and closets" and that "some of the money was stuffed into the pockets of the senator's jacket."
Also charged in the case are the three businessmen who allegedly bribed Menéndez: Wael Hana, José Uribe and Fred Daibes.
Menendez and Nadine are charged with three counts: conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit fraud in the honest rendering of services and conspiracy to commit extortion under the guise of official law.
Hana, Uribe and Daibes, meanwhile, are charged with the first two of those charges.
However, Williams said the investigation is ongoing and not yet complete.
"I want to encourage anyone who has information to come forward and do so quickly," he concluded.
For his part, today Senator Menéndez defended his innocence in a statement.
"Those behind this campaign simply cannot accept that a first-generation Latin American from humble origins can become a U.S. senator and serve with honor and distinction," said the politician who comes from a Cuban family.
However, according to NBC, Menendez, who was seeking re-election in 2024, will resign from his position due to the accusation.
This is the second time Menendez has been charged with federal bribery.
In 2015, he was charged with 14 criminal counts related to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lavish gifts and campaign donations he received from a Florida ophthalmologist, Salomon Melgen.
While Melgen was later convicted of fraud and sentenced to more than 15 years in prison, the prosecution against Menendez was dropped after a trial that ended with a dissenting jury.
(With information from EFE)