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Senator Bob Menendez looks on during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill on October 18, 2023 in Washington, DC.
Federal prosecutors said Sen. Bob Menendez is accused of accepting race car tickets and other gifts from Qatar as part of a years-long corruption scheme that included the Gulf state as another foreign country, a New Jersey Democrat accused of facilitating while in office.
Prosecutors allege Allegation of trespass Menendez's bribery and extortion scheme continued until 2023, a year longer than initially stated. The new indictment, made public on Tuesday, amends the original indictment by listing formal charges against one defendant.
Among the new charges, according to the indictment, Menendez accepted payments from one of his co-conspirators, New Jersey real estate developer Fred Teibs. Qatar. The senator, prosecutors allege, additionally took steps to help Qatar.
In addition to the bribery charges, Menendez is accused of acting as a foreign agent of the Egyptian government by taking steps to help the country in exchange for one of the defendants gaining a monopoly on the halal export business. Menendez has He vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
In a statement Tuesday, Menendez's attorney said the government “has no evidence to support any of the allegations, old or new,” but instead “a string of baseless assumptions and outlandish conjectures based on routine, legitimate interactions between a senator and his constituents. Or foreign officials.”
“At all times, Senator Menendez acted in an entirely appropriate manner with regard to Qatar, Egypt and many other countries with which he regularly interacts,” attorney Adam Fee said in the statement. “Those connections have always been based on his professional judgment of America's best interests, as he has always been a patriot. This latest indictment only exposes the extent to which these hostile lawyers will poison the public before an investigation even begins. But these new charges change nothing, and their Principles are not susceptible to scrutiny by a court or jury.
The latest indictment alleges that Menendez introduced the tapes to a member of the Qatari royal family and the head of a Qatar investment firm seeking to invest. Menendez made several public statements in support of the Qatari government while the Qatar Investment Fund was weighing the investment, according to the indictment.
“Menendez provided these statements to Taibes so that Taibes could share them with Qatari government officials associated with the Qatari investor and the Qatari investment company,” prosecutors allege.
In August 2021, the senator sent a press release in which he praised the government of Qatar, texting him, “You might want to send them. “I am going to release,” the chargesheet said. The following month, after attending a private event hosted by the government of Qatar in Manhattan, Tepes texted Menendez photos of the $23,990 luxury watches, asking, “How about one of these?” he asked. Two days later, Menendez sent the tapes a link to a website tracking a Senate resolution supporting Qatar.
A few months later in January 2022, Menendez told the Qatari investor, ahead of a meeting with Taibus in London to discuss a potential investment, “I understand that my friend is going to meet you on the 15th of this month. I am confident that this will result in a favorable and mutually beneficial settlement as you both have negotiated,” the chargesheet said.
In May, at the senator's request, a Qatari official awarded tickets to the 2022 Formula One Grand Prix to a close relative of Nadine Menendez.
That same month, following a meeting between the senator, Taibes and two Qatari officials, the Qatar Investment Fund signed a letter of intent to enter into a joint venture with Taibes' company. Later, according to the indictment, Teibes gave Menendez a gold bar.
Last year, the Qatar Investment Corporation made it official and invested millions of dollars with Taibs. Menendez continued to receive benefits from the Qataris, including four tickets to that year's Formula One Grand Prix race, the indictment alleges.
Prosecutors say Menendez did not mention in his financial disclosures gifts from Qatar and Tabez, including gold bars and betting tickets.
This story has been updated with additional details.