On January 2nd, new allegations surfaced against Senator Bob Menendez, linking him to a bribery scheme involving Qatari officials. According to a superseding indictment filed by Manhattan federal prosecutors, the New Jersey Democrat is accused of orchestrating an investment deal between a bribe-paying businessman and a Qatari real estate firm.
The indictment alleges that Menendez, 70, received lavish gifts, including Formula One race tickets and a Patek Philippe watch, from New Jersey developer Fred Daibes. In exchange, Menendez reportedly used his influence to secure a deal for Daibes with a Doha-linked firm. This arrangement involved cash, gold bars, and luxury Swiss watches, as indicated by an email from Daibes showcasing the watches.
Extending the timeline of bribery allegations into 2023, the case adds Qatar to the list of countries where Menendez allegedly leveraged his position for personal gain. The senator and his wife Nadine were initially charged in September with accepting bribes for assisting Daibes and two other businessmen, Wael Hana and Jose Uribe. All defendants have pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The indictment details how Senator Menendez introduced Daibes to a member of the Qatari royal family and a principal in a company with ties to the Qatari government. Menendez’s role as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was allegedly used to support the Doha government, including issuing a public statement thanking Qatar for accepting Afghan refugees amid the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
The senator’s attorney, Adam Fee, has vehemently denied the allegations, describing them as baseless and a result of hostile prosecution. Fee asserts that Menendez’s interactions were always in the best interests of the United States and that the new allegations will not withstand legal scrutiny.
The trial is set to begin on May 6th, with Menendez’s defense team seeking a postponement until after the June 4th primary. Menendez, who has been in the U.S. Senate since 2006 and re-elected four times since, previously faced unrelated bribery charges in 2017, which resulted in a hung jury. He has not yet announced whether he will run for re-election but could face a challenging primary battle.