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Menendez faces new allegation he induced Qatar group to invest

Superseding indictment connects New Jersey Democrat’s actions to a real estate project in the Garden State

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez in a Senate office building in November 2023.
New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez in a Senate office building in November 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Federal prosecutors made new allegations Tuesday that Sen. Bob Menendez took gifts from a real estate developer and a Qatari investment company related to public actions to benefit the Qatari government.

In a second superseding indictment in the case, prosecutors said the New Jersey Democrat sought to persuade a Qatari-aligned investment company to pour millions into the developer’s project.

The new indictment doesn’t add to the four charges Menendez already faced. But the details in the latest superseding indictment expand the time frame of a bribery and extortion conspiracy to include 2023 and provides additional details, prosecutors wrote in a separate filing in the case.

Menendez temporarily stepped down as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee when the original indictment was unsealed in September, but he has resisted calls to resign, criticized the prosecution and pleaded not guilty.

According to prosecutors, Menendez accepted cash and gold bars for his role in inducing the investment company, which has ties to the Qatari government, to invest with Fred Daibes, a New Jersey real estate developer.

The senator, who held top roles on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made multiple public statements supporting the Qatari government while the investment company was mulling whether it would invest in Daibes’ project, the indictment states. Menendez also provided the statements to Daibes before he released them so he could share them with a Qatari official and investor, the indictment states.

The new details add to the corruption allegations Menendez already faces, which span from the Garden State to Qatar and Egypt.

Prosecutors have said Menendez sought to use his influence to try to secure the nomination of a U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey whom he thought he could manipulate to derail the criminal prosecution of Daibes. In 2021, while Daibes was facing that prosecution, Menendez introduced Daibes to an investor who was part of the Qatari royal family and the principal of the investment company and was considering a multimillion-dollar investment into Daibes project, the indictment states.

In September 2021, the senator and Daibes went to a private event in New York City hosted by the Qatari government and, days later, Daibes texted Menendez photos of luxury watches valued at up to $23,900 and asked, “How about one of these,” the indictment states. And a couple of days afterward, Daibes sent the senator a link to a website tracking a Senate resolution supporting Qatar, which was referred to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on which Menendez served, the indictment states.

The resolution, introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on Sept. 28, 2021, expressed gratitude for the Qatari government’s assistance in evacuating Americans and U.S. allies from Afghanistan. The committee reported it out by voice vote the following May, and the Senate adopted it the same month.

After a May 2022 meeting between Menendez, Daibes, a Qatari investor and a Qatari official, the investment company tied to the Qatari government signed a letter of intent to enter into a joint venture with the company controlled by Daibes, the indictment states. Daibes gave the senator at least one gold bar after this occurred, prosecutors said.

In 2023, the Qatari investment company entered into a joint venture with the company controlled by Daibes and poured tens of millions into the real estate project, the indictment states.

Menendez, through his lawyer, Adam Fee, attacked the new allegations and the prosecutors, saying the government doesn’t have the proof to substantiate them.

The latest indictment “exposes the lengths to which these hostile prosecutors will go to poison the public before a trial even begins,” Fee said in a statement. Fee argued the senator acted “entirely appropriately with respect to Qatar, Egypt, and the many other countries he routinely interacts with.”

Menendez faces four charges: conspiracy for a public official to act as a foreign agent, conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud and bribery. Menendez is also accused of acting on behalf of the Egyptian government.

Menendez has faced calls to resign from a flurry of lawmakers from his own party, but has said he would not.

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