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US Senator Bob Menendez accused of accepting gifts from Qatar

Federal authorities allege that Menendez received race car tickets and various gifts from Qatar
US Senator Bob Menendez questions former Governor Martin O'Malley, Biden's nominee for Commissioner of Social Security, before the Senate Finance Committee on 2 November 2023.
US Senator Bob Menendez questions former Governor Martin O'Malley, Biden's nominee for social security commissioner, before Senate Finance Committee on 2 November (Kevin Diestch/AFP)

Federal prosecutors have revealed new charges against US Senator Bob Menendez claiming that he accepted race car tickets and other gifts from Qatar as part of an extended corruption scheme. 

Qatar, alongside Egypt, is mentioned in the allegations against the senator, who is accused of providing assistance to these countries while holding office.

Prosecutors say in the updated indictment that the bribery and extortion scheme involving Menendez extended into 2023, which is a year longer than previously alleged, CNN reported.

This new indictment, released on Tuesday, revises and supersedes the original charges, detailing the formal accusations against Menendez.

According to the new indictment, Menendez allegedly received payments from a co-conspirator, identified as a New Jersey real estate developer, in exchange for using his influence to assist the developer in securing millions of dollars from an investment fund linked to Qatar. 

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Furthermore, prosecutors accuse the senator of taking additional actions to benefit the Middle Eastern nation.

Menendez’s attorney, Adam Fee, said in a statement on Tuesday that “the government does not have the proof to back up any of the old or new allegations” but instead “a string of baseless assumptions and bizarre conjectures based on routine, lawful contacts between a Senator and his constituents or foreign officials.”

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“Those interactions were always based on his professional judgment as to the best interests of the United States because he is, and always has been, a patriot,” Fee added.

“This latest Indictment only exposes the lengths to which these hostile prosecutors will go to poison the public before a trial even begins. But these new allegations don’t change a thing, and their theories won’t survive the scrutiny of the court or a jury.”

The senator, his spouse, the New Jersey real estate developer, and two other business figures from New Jersey were indicted last year for being part of an alleged bribery scheme. All individuals involved have entered pleas of not guilty to the charges.

The Qatari consulate in New York did not respond to Middle East Eye’s request for comment.

Last year, Menendez, who had avoided conviction on corruption charges five years ago, faced a federal probe tied to a New Jersey-based company that certifies halal meats exported for sale to Egypt.

The New York Times reported in September that FBI agents have been working with US prosecutors in the southern district of New York in a probe looking into the business dealings of IS EG Halal, a New Jersey start-up that had no known experience in halal certification, according to the US Department of Agriculture.

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