New Jersey Senator Menendez Facing Corruption Charges

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By Abigail Palotas, Staff Writer

In late September, 2023, an indictment was unsealed alleging that New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez and his wife, Nadine Menendez, engaged in a corrupt relationship with three New Jersey businessmen.[1] As part of this agreement between 2018 and 2022, the Menendezes received cash, gold bars, and a luxury vehicle in exchange for Menendez’s use of his official position to protect and enrich these businessmen and benefit the Government of Egypt.[2] During a search of Menendez’s New Jersey home last year, investigators found $480,000 hidden throughout the residence, as well as 13 bars of gold worth an estimated $155,000. Both Sen. Menendez and his wife deny the allegations in the indictment and Sen. Menendez asserts his loyalty to the United States (U.S.).[3]

Menendez connected with businessmen, Wael Hana, Fred Daibes, and Jose Uribe, through Nadine Menedez.[4] Shortly after the couple began dating in 2018, Nadine Menendez introduced Menendez to her long-time friend Wael Hana, who, although living in New Jersey, was originally from Egypt and maintained close connections with Egyptian officials.[5] Hana was business associates with real estate developer and Menendez donor, Fred Daibes, as well as Jose Uribe, who worked in insurance and trucking in New Jersey.[6]

As part of the scheme, Menedez provided Egyptian officials with non-public information regarding the number and nationality of persons serving at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt by texting it to Nadine Menendez, who then passed it to Hael, who forwarded it to an Egyptian government official.[7] Additionally, Menendez ghost-wrote a letter on behalf of Egypt to other U.S. Senators advocating for the release of a hold on $300 million in aid to Egypt.[8] He sent this ghost-written letter to Nadine Menendez, who forwarded it to Hana, who then sent it to Egyptian officials.[9] Menendez also conveyed to Egyptian officials, through Nadine, Hana, and Daibes, that he would remove holds on military financing and approve sales of military equipment to Egypt.[10]

Furthermore, Menendez pressured an official at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to protect a business monopoly granted to Hana by Egypt for U.S. food exports compliant with halal standards, despite the fact the neither Hana nor his company had experience with halal certification.[11] The monopoly generated money for Hana but resulted in increased costs for U.S. meat suppliers, so in May 2019, the USDA contacted the Government of Egypt seeking reconsideration.[12] Menendez demanded the USDA to stop interfering with Hana’s monopoly.[13] Although U.S. government officials did not accede to Menendez’s demand, Hana kept his monopoly.[14] Hana then made payments to Nadine Menendez preventing foreclosure for her residence and bringing the mortgage current as well as for a low-or-no-show job.[15]

In exchange for a $60,000 Mercedes-Benz convertible, Menendez interfered with a criminal case involving insurance fraud of an associate of Uribe.[16] Menendez attempted to pressure a senior state prosecutor at the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office to resolve the prosecution more favorably for the defendant.[17] The prosecutor found Menendez’s actions inappropriate but did not intervene. The prosecution was resolved with a plea; Uribe and his associate were not further investigated or charged.[18]

Menendez also attempted to disrupt a criminal case in the U.S Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey which charged Daibes with federal criminal charges for obtaining loans under false pretenses from a New Jersey-based bank he founded.[19] In exchange for his influence, Menendez received cash, furniture, and gold bars from Daibes.[20] The case was ultimately resolved with a plea agreement for a probationary sentence.[21]

As a result of the indictment, Menendez stepped down as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but has so far refused to resign as New Jersey’s senior senator.[22] It is illegal for a member of Congress or a public official to act as a foreign agent.[23]

Menendez and his wife each face charges for conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right.[24] The three businessmen each face charges for conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to commit honest services fraud.[25]

In October, 2023, Menendez, his wife, and the three businessmen pleaded not guilty to these charges.[26] An additional charge was unveiled in a superseding indictment filed against Menedez in which prosecutors allege Nadine Menendez and Wael Hana failed to register as agents working on behalf of Egypt and conspired to have Menendez act on behalf of Egypt.[27] Both Nadine and Hana pleaded not guilty to this charge as well.[28] If convicted, Menendez and his wife now face up to 50 years in prison.[29]


[2] Ibid.



[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.


[23] Ibid.


[25] Ibid.


[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid.

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