Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, one of the most powerful figures in the Democratic Party, faces federal corruption charges implicating him a far-reaching bribery scheme.
According to prosecutors’ 39-page indictment, Menendez used his vast power as a lawmaker to benefit three New Jersey businessmen in return for gifts and cash.
Senator Menendez Is No Friend of Crypto
Menendez is not just any politician, but the senior senator from New Jersey and chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. As such, he has been able to pull strings and get people what they want on the diplomatic stage.
The senator is also an enemy of cryptocurrency. Menendez frowns on tiny El Salvador’s efforts to lift its people out of poverty with a foray into the crypto realm.
In June, Menendez joined with Senator Jim Risch, an Idaho Republican, to re-introduce a bill that would require the US State Department to study El Salvador’s experiment. And to come up with a report on its consequences for US-Salvadoran economic ties.
Learn more about El Salvador’s adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender and its relationship with the crypto industry.
Menendez clearly agreed with Risch, who wrote in a blog post:
“We must seek greater clarity on how the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender may impact El Salvador’s financial and economic stability, as well as El Salvador’s capacity to effectively combat money laundering and illicit finances.”
Senator Menendez’s Extensive Corruption Comes to Light
As his stance on El Salvador makes clear, Menendez stands with those lawmakers and officials who share SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s general view of crypto. The view that it is “a field rife with fraud, rife with hucksters.”
Given this stance, it is fair to ask who this Senator Menendez is. Surely he must be the furthest thing from a fraudster or a huckster?
According to US Attorney Damian Williams, Menendez and his wife engaged in a “corrupt relationship.” Along with three New Jersey-based associates. Namely, Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes. And, Williams’s indictment states, it was not a flash in the pan. But, rather, a relationship that stretched from at least 2018 through 2022.
Menendez and his wife Nadine, we learn, accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. In return, the senator used his power and influence “to protect and enrich” the three associates. Also, to secure favorable treatment for the nation of Egypt.
According to the indictment, certain officials in Egypt’s government sought Menendez’s help in getting around restrictions on weapons and military technology that Egypt could receive.
“Those bribes included cash, gold, payments toward a home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job, a luxury vehicle, and other things of value,” the indictment states.
Did Menendez Put Egypt Above US National Interests?
Menendez’s actions may have even jeopardized US national security. For, we learn, he provided “sensitive US government information” to help Egypt.
The senator also used his clout to put pressure on an official at the Department of Agriculture to protect a lucrative business venture. One that Egypt had allegedly granted to Hana.
The misuse of Menendez’s power did not stop there. According to the indictment, the senator used his authority to disrupt a New Jersey Attorney General’s Office investigation into the doings of Uribe.
In addition, Menendez tried to secure the nomination of a candidate for US Attorney for the District of New Jersey. Menendez thought the candidate could help influence the outcome of another investigation, involving Daibes.
Law Enforcement Agents Establish Links With DNA
The crooked ties between Menendez and his wife, and the three associates, came to light when federal agents carried out searches of the Menendez home in or around June 2022, we learn.
In the course of those court-authorized raids, the agents found some $480,000 of dirty money. It appears Menendez and/or his wife had hidden envelopes holding the cash in closets, clothing, and a safe. Using DNA, agents linked some of the envelopes to Daibes and his driver.
Among the other items that agents found at the house? Over $100,000 worth of gold bars, gifts from either Daibes or Hana.
The 39-page indictment of Menendez, his wife, and their three associates reads almost like a catalog of corruption and the misuse of power for selfish purposes.
But cryptocurrency? Take the good senator’s word: honest people don’t ever get involved.
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