Democratic New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez was indicted Friday on federal corruption charges, bringing to light sensational new allegations against the lawmaker as detailed in court documents reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was charged with three felony counts related to his alleged receipt of bribes in exchange for steering U.S. foreign policy to favor Egypt, according to an indictment issued by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The indictment alleges several corrupt acts by Menendez and his wife, Nadine, which the Daily Caller News Foundation has listed below.
1. Menendez allegedly hid stacks of cash and gold bullion received from his associates in his home
In June of 2022, the FBI executed a search warrant on Menendez’s home in New Jersey as well as a safe deposit box belonging to his wife Nadine. At these locations, officials found, “[o]ver $480,000 in cash — much of it stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets, and a safe … along with over $70,000 in [Nadine’s] safe deposit box,” according to the indictment.
These cash amounts were found, stacked, in Menendez’s clothes hanging in his closet and bearing the U.S. Senate logo. Additionally, the FBI discovered gold bullion bars worth over $100,000 in Menendez’s home and safe deposit box.
The cash and gold, as well as two exercise machines, an air purifier and other furniture, were provided to Menendez by Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes, three associates of his wife who were introduced to Menendez and who allegedly acted on behalf of Egypt’s government in the scheme.
“Some of the envelopes contained the fingerprints and/or DNA of DAIBES or his driver … and was marked with DAIBES’s return address” the indictment read, with Nadine later texting Daibes that it was “Christmas in January.”
2. Menendez allegedly leaked sensitive information about the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to Egyptian officials
On May 6, 2018, while he was the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez allegedly contacted the U.S. Department of State to obtain sensitive and non-public details about personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, the indictment claims. These included the total number of persons working at the embassy as well as their nationalities — including U.S. citizen officials accredited to Egypt as well as non-citizen locally employed staff, according to the indictment.
Menendez later shared this information with Nadine, who was his girlfriend at the time, according to the indictment. This was transmitted to Hana, who then shared it with an unnamed official of the Egyptian government.
“Although this information was not classified, it was deemed highly sensitive because it could pose significant operational security concerns if disclosed to a foreign government or if made public,” the indictment read. Menendez provided the information to Hana without informing his Senate staff, the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee or the Department of State, according to the indictment.
3. Menendez allegedly ghost-wrote a letter on behalf of the government of Egypt to other senators to lift a hold on arms sales
In 2017, the Trump administration withheld $195 million worth of arms sales to Egypt over concerns about human rights, with several senators raising “human rights or rule-of-law objections” to the sales, according to the indictment.
In 2018, after a request from Egyptian officials through his girlfriend Nadine, Menedez personally drafted a letter for the Egyptian government to send to his Senate colleagues and enlist their support for lifting the hold, according to the indictment. The letter, though ghost-written by Menendez, was signed by high-ranking Egyptian officials and made to appear as though they had drafted it, and was transmitted to them via a personal email account, the indictment claimed.
“[A]nytime you need anything you have my number and we will make everything happen,” Nadine later texted to an Egyptian government official in 2020.
4. Menendez’s girlfriend allegedly obtained a no-show job from a company that received an Egyptian government monopoly over exports
In exchange for their efforts on behalf of Egypt, the country’s government in 2019 granted “IS EG Halal,” a firm founded by Hana, an exclusive monopoly on the certification of all food imports from the United States as compliant with “halal” standards, referring to Islamic rules regarding how food is to be prepared, which are required by Egyptian law. “Neither [Hana] nor his company, had experience with halal certification,” the indictment claimed.
The revenue that Hana generated from his exclusive monopoly over U.S. imports enabled him to pay Menendez’s girlfriend, Nadine, even though she did not engage in any work for the company. The indictment described the position as a “low-or-no-show job,” which allegedly served as a front for receiving payments for Menendez’s political efforts to secure Egyptian interests.
Nadine and Menendez later created a shell company, Strategic International Business Consultants LLC, to receive the payments from IS EG Halal. “The company was used to receive bribe payments in furtherance of the crimes charged herein,” the indictment read.
“Nadine I personally gave Bob a check for September,” texted Daibes to Nadine in September of 2019. “In total, IS EG Halal issued three $10,000 checks to Strategic International Business Consultants, dated August 30, September 28, and November 5, 2019,” according to the indictment.
5. Menendez allegedly attempted to quash a U.S. government investigation into the company paying his wife bribes
Egypt’s grant of an exclusive monopoly to IS EG Halal to certify U.S. imports to the country “resulted in increased costs for various U.S. meat suppliers and others,” according to the indictment. As a result, the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2019 petitioned Egypt’s government to rescind the monopoly and began investigating the monopoly’s disruptive effect on the U.S. market.
On May 23, 2019, Menendez allegedly called an unnamed high-ranking official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture demanding that the investigation be ceased and the planned report not be published. Though the investigation wasn’t dropped at Menendez’s behest, IS EG Halal maintained its Egyptian monopoly.
6. Menendez allegedly received a Mercedes-Benz convertible as a bribe for intervening in a criminal investigation
Menendez and his then-girlfriend Nadine received a black Mercedes-Benz C-300 convertible worth over $60,000 from Uribe, according to the indictment. The car was allegedly a bribe to Menendez to use his political influence to stop a criminal investigation into his business associates.
On April 5, 2019, Nadine purchased the convertible with a $15,000 down payment using cash that Uribe had given her in a restaurant parking lot the day before. “You are a miracle worker who makes dreams come true I will always remember that,” Nadine texted Uribe after receiving the money.
Nadine then allegedly falsified her employment status and income on loan statements to cover the remaining $45,000 price of the car. Instead of paying them herself, the monthly payments on the car were made by Uribe through several business associates.
Menendez, in September of 2019, personally scheduled meetings with an official at the agency at this Senate constituency office in Newark to discuss the investigation. “We need to make things go away. We need to move fast … [w]e can still stop this,” Uribe had texted Nadine.
Menendez allegedly did not disclose the convertible on Senate financial disclosure forms he was required to file.
7. Menendez allegedly threatened to quash the nomination of a U.S. Attorney candidate who refused to undercut the prosecution of Daibes
After Daibes’ indictment in 2020, Menendez attempted to use his senatorial influence to have President Joe Biden appoint a U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey who would not prosecute him forcefully, according to the indictment.
Senate customs dictate that a state’s senior senator must approve nominees for U.S. attorney positions in order to receive a vote on their confirmation, and such senators frequently recommend nominees to the White House ahead of the president’s nomination. In December of 2020, prior to the Biden administration taking office, Menendez interviewed Philip Sellinger, a candidate for the role, and said “that he hoped that the Candidate would look into [Daibes’] case” if he were nominated and confirmed, according to the indictment.
Sellinger later told Menendez, however, that he would have to recuse himself from any case involving Daibes, who had been a client of his in private practice. “Menendez subsequently informed the Candidate that [he] would not put forward the Candidate’s name to the White House for a recommendation to be nominated by the President for the position of U.S. Attorney,” the indictment read.
Later, however, Menendez was told by an unnamed advisor that Sellinger would not have to recuse himself in the case, with Sellinger allegedly recanting his vow of recusal in a later phone call to Menendez. Menendez later recommended Sellinger who was nominated by Biden and confirmed in 2021.
Sellinger, however, later recused himself from Daibes’ prosecution, prompting Menendez to express his frustrations to advisers and, through intermediaries, seek assurances that Daibes would receive “due process,” according to the indictment.
Menendez, Sellinger, the White House and the Egyptian mission to the United States did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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