Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars to use the senator’s position to benefit the government of Egypt, including providing sensitive US government information and secretly helping to steer military aid to Egypt, according to the federal indictment.
“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 says.
According to the indictment, Menendez’s wife, Nadine – along with a friend and now co-defendant – introduced the senator to Egyptian intelligence and military officials.
Menendez, as ranking member and then-Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had substantial influence over military contracts and aid, including to Egypt, who the indictment says was among the largest recipients of US military aid over the last several years.
Over dinners and meetings with Egyptian officials, Menendez and his then-girlfriend and future wife promised to use his political power to facilitate US military sales and financing to Egypt in exchange for his wife to be placed on the payroll of one of the co-defendant’s companies for a “low-or-no-show job,” the indictment says.
After one of these meetings, according to the indictment, Menendez asked the US State Department for highly sensitive information about how many people were serving at the US embassy in Egypt as well as their nationalities.
Menendez later texted the breakdown of who was employed at the embassy to his then-girlfriend, who forwarded it to a co-defendant who sent the sensitive information to an Egyptian official.
The senator is also accused of disclosing non-public information about military aid to Egypt to individuals who passed the information onto Egyptian officials. Menendez also helped draft a letter on behalf of the government of Egypt “seeking to convince other U.S. Senators to release a hold on $300 million in aid to Egypt.”
After being provided briefing materials passed along from the Egyptian government for requests for military financing and sales to the country, Menendez told his wife to pass along a message that he would “sign off this sale to Egypt today,” the indictment says.
Menendez said the sale, totaling at least $99 million, included target practice rounds and 10,000 rounds of tank ammunition.
“NOTE: These tank rounds are for tanks they have had for many years. They are using these in the Sinai for the counter-terrorism campaign,” he allegedly messaged.
The message eventually made their way to an Egyptian official, who responded with a “thumbs up” emoji.