New York, Oct 12 (EFE) – US Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, accused by federal prosecutors of multiple corruption crimes in favor of the Egyptian government, was indicted by a grand jury on Thursday on an additional charge of alleged conspiracy to act as a “foreign agent” for that country.
“As part of the scheme, Menendez provided sensitive, non-public US government information to Egyptian officials and otherwise took steps to secretly aid the government of Egypt,” reads the text of the indictment, posted on the website of the US Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York.
Authorities included the charge in a new document against the senator and his wife, Nadine Arslanian (now Menendez), who are accused of accepting bribes in exchange for using his official position to protect and enrich Jersey businessmen and benefit the government of Egypt.
According to the indictment, “between 2018 and 2022, Menendez also conveyed to Egyptian officials (…) that he would approve or lift holds on foreign military financing and sales of military equipment to Egypt in connection with his leadership role on the SFRC.”
Nadine began dating Menendez in February 2018, and shortly after she introduced him to her longtime friend Wael Hana, an Egyptian businessman who lived in New Jersey and had close ties to Egyptian officials.
Hana was also a business associate of Fred Daibes, a New Jersey real estate developer and longtime Menendez donor, and José Uribe, who worked in the insurance and trucking business in New Jersey.
Between 2018 and 2022, Menendez and Nadine accepted bribes from the three businessmen.
Prosecutors had alleged that the hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of bribes included gold, cash, home mortgage payments and a Mercedes-Benz, as well as a “low-or-no-show job” for Nadine.
In exchange, “Menendez agreed to use his power and influence as a Senator to seek to protect the interests of Hana, Uribe, and Daibes and to benefit the Government of Egypt.” The indictment states.
According to the document, Menendez improperly pressured a US Department of Agriculture official to protect a business monopoly granted to Hana by Egypt.
He also “took actions seeking to disrupt a criminal investigation undertaken by the Office of the New Jersey Attorney General related to Uribe and his associates” and “sought to disrupt a federal criminal prosecution undertaken by the US Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey of Daibes.”
The senator, who represents New Jersey, was initially indicted by federal prosecutors on September 22, along with his wife and the businessmen.
The politician, like the other defendants, pleaded not guilty.
Menedez resigned as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, but for now he retains his seat despite calls from his party to resign.
The trial has been set by the judge for May 6, 2024.EFE