New York, Sep 23
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and his wife have been charged with taking bribes from three New Jersey businessmen, the media reported.
As per US Attorney's office, Menendez, 69, accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of cash and gold bars in exchange for using his power and influence as New Jersey's senior senator, Xinhua news agency reported.
As the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez has been an important ally to fellow Democrat Joe Biden as the president has sought to reassert US influence on the world stage, rally support for congressional aid to Ukraine and push back China's rise.
"Behind the scenes, Senator Menendez was doing those things for certain people -- the people that were bribing him and his wife," Damian Williams, the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, said.
A lawyer for Nadine Menendez, 56, who has been married to the senator since 2020, denied wrongdoing and would defend against the allegations in court.
The investigation marks the third time federal prosecutors have investigated Menendez.
Federal prosecutors in New Jersey dropped a case in January 2018 in which Menendez was charged with accepting private flights, campaign contributions and other bribes from a wealthy patron in exchange for official favors.
On top of that, a 2017 trial on those charges ended in a deadlocked jury. He was also investigated in 2006.
He was never convicted despite facing multiple charges over the past dozen years.
Prosecutors allege the "corrupt relationship" between Menendez and three businessmen began around 2018.
According to the indictment, Wael Hana -- originally from Egypt -- arranged meetings in 2018 between the senator and Egyptian officials, in which officials pressed Menendez to sign off on military aid Washington had withheld.
Prosecutors said another businessman, Jose Uribe, who worked in trucking and insurance, gave Nadine Menendez 15,000 US dollars in cash to help pay for a Mercedes-Benz convertible after her husband helped to resolve fraud investigations into Uribe's associates.
Fred Daibes, a real estate developer, gave Menendez gold bars and cash after Menendez sought to influence a federal criminal case in New Jersey against Daibes for obtaining loans under false pretenses, prosecutors said.
Menendez, his wife and three businessmen are all expected to appear in Manhattan federal court on September 27.
New York, Sep 23