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New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez accused of receiving gifts linked to Qatar investment

Washington — Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, is facing allegations of accepting expensive gifts in exchange for favorable comments about Qatar, according to a second superseding indictment unsealed Tuesday. 

The indictment does not charge Menendez with any additional crimes, but includes new allegations to support the charges in the first superseding indictment from October and the original indictment in September. 

Menendez and his wife, Nadine, are charged with four counts related to an alleged bribery scheme in which prosecutors say they accepted lavish gifts in exchange for using his power and influence as a U.S. senator to benefit three businessmen and Egypt’s government. They have denied wrongdoing.

The latest indictment broadens the allegations to include Qatar, accusing Menendez of assisting one of the businessmen, who was seeking a multimillion-dollar investment from a company with ties to the Qatari government, by making multiple public statements in support of the government. 

In June 2021, Menendez introduced the businessman, Fred Daibes, to an investor who was a member of the Qatari royal family and principal of an investment company, according to the indictment. The Qatari investor proceeded to negotiate a multimillion-dollar investment into a real estate project that Daibes was seeking financing for in New Jersey. 

While the Qatari company was considering investing, Menendez “made multiple public statements supporting the Government of Qatar” and then provided the statements to Daibes so that the businessman could share them with the Qatari investor and a Qatari government official, the indictment says. 

“You might want to send to them. I am just about to release,” Menendez allegedly said in a message to Daibes on Aug. 20, 2021. 

The next month, the indictment says the senator and businessman attended a private event in New York that was hosted by the Qatari government. Days later, Daibes sent Menendez photographs of luxury watches that ranged in price from $9,990 to $23,990, asking Menendez, “How about one of these,” the indictment said. 

After returning from a trip to Qatar in Egypt in October 2021, Menendez allegedly searched “how much is one kilo of gold worth.” Around the same time, Daibes was texting Menendez about a Senate resolution that was supportive of Qatar, according to prosecutors. 

Months later, as Daibes was set to meet with the Qatari investor in London, Menendez allegedly texted both of them: “Greetings. I understand my friend is going to visit with you on the 15th of the month. I hope that this will result in the favorable and mutually beneficial agreement that you have been both engaged in discussing.” 

The indictment indicated that Menendez and Daibes met privately with the Qataris in March 2022. Two months later, the Qataris signed a letter of intent to go into business with Daibes, who then gave Menendez at least one gold bar, prosecutors said. 

Menendez “continued to receive things of value” from the Qataris, including tickets for relatives to the Formula One Grand Prix race held in Miami, according to the indictment. 

Adam Fee, Menendez’s lawyer, said in a statement that the allegations are “a string of baseless assumptions and bizarre conjectures based on routine, lawful contacts between a Senator and his constituents or foreign officials.” 

“At all times, Senator Menendez acted entirely appropriately with respect to Qatar, Egypt, and the many other countries he routinely interacts with,” Fee said.

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