Gold bars, cash-stuffed envelopes: New indictment of Sen. Menendez alleges vast corruption
Baku, September 23, AZERTAC
Powerful Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey was charged Friday with secretly aiding the authoritarian government of Egypt and trying to thwart the criminal prosecution of a friend in exchange for gold bars and cash under a corruption indictment that accuses him of using his foreign affairs influence for personal gain, according to Associated Preess.
Menendez was forced to relinquish his chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee but said he would not resign from Congress, though New Jersey’s governor, a fellow Democrat, and other Democrats in the state’s congressional delegation said he should.
The indictment, the second in eight years against the 69-year-old senator, alleges an illegal commingling of Menendez’s obligations to advance U.S. priorities and his private interest in cultivating relationships with wealthy businessmen. It also includes charges against his wife and three New Jersey businessmen who authorities say showered the couple with money, gold and a luxury car in exchange for official favors.
Menendez accused prosecutors of misrepresenting “the normal work of a congressional office” and said he would not allow his work in the Senate to be distracted by “baseless allegations.”
Authorities who searched Menendez’s home last year found more than $100,000 worth of gold bars, as well as over $480,000 in cash — much of it hidden in closets, clothing and a safe, prosecutors say. Photos in the indictment show cash that was stuffed in envelopes in jackets bearing Menendez’s name. Investigators also say they discovered a Google search by Menendez for the value of a “kilo of gold,” and DNA of one man prosecutors say bribed him on an envelope filled with thousands of dollars.
Senate disclosure forms amended by Menendez in March 2022 show Nadine Menendez’s assets included gold bars valued between $100,000 to $250,000. Between April and June of 2022, the couple cashed out at least part of their precious metal holdings, forms show, selling between $200,000 and $400,000 worth of gold bars, while keeping at least $250,000 worth.