Menendez Faces a New Charge: Aiding the Qatari Government

Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey — already accused of using his political influence to benefit Egypt — was newly charged on Tuesday with using his power to help the government of Qatar.

Mr. Menendez, 70, was charged by federal prosecutors with accepting bribes from Fred Daibes, a prominent New Jersey developer, in exchange for the senator’s help securing financial backing from an investment fund with ties to the Qatari government.

“When he accepted at least certain of those things of value,” prosecutors wrote, Mr. Daibes “also expected Menendez in exchange to take action to benefit the government of Qatar, and thereby benefit Daibes, who was seeking millions of dollars in investment from a fund with ties to the government of Qatar.”

Lawyers for Mr. Menendez and Mr. Daibes could not be immediately reached for comment.

The new indictment broadens the government’s allegations that Mr. Menendez, even as he served as head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, used his official position to convey benefits to foreign governments in return for hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. In October, prosecutors accused Mr. Menendez and his wife, Nadine Menendez, and another defendant, Wael Hana, of conspiring to have the senator work on behalf of the Egyptian government without registering with the Justice Department.

Mr. Menendez, a Democrat, and his four co-defendants have all pleaded not guilty. They are all scheduled for trial in U.S. District Court in Manhattan in May.

The new indictment also suggests for the first time that the senator and his wife took steps to try to cover up the alleged bribery after federal agents raided the couple’s New Jersey house in 2022.

Specifically, prosecutors said that in December 2022 the Menendezes attempted to repay tens of thousands of dollars worth of bribes that had come in the forms of payments for a home mortgage and toward a Mercedes-Benz convertible. In both cases, the couple created documentation describing the original bribes as loans they were repaying, the indictment says.

Mr. Daibes had been planning a major high-rise residential project at 115 River Road in Edgewater, N.J., but the project lost its financing after getting bogged down in a delayed environmental cleanup, court records show. In late 2022, Mr. Daibes traveled to London and Qatar to meet with potential new lenders.

In January 2023, he finalized a $45 million shared-ownership agreement for the Edgewater project with a company founded by a member of Qatar’s royal family, Bergen County deed records show.

Related Articles

Back to top button