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22 Sep, 2023 13:59

Architect of US anti-Russia sanctions accused of corruption

US Senator Bob Menendez is accused of receiving bribes to benefit a foreign country
Architect of US anti-Russia sanctions accused of corruption

Prominent US Democratic Senator Robert Menendez has been charged in a federal case for his alleged corrupt relationship with three businessmen. The indictment, unsealed in the Manhattan federal court on Friday, also names his wife, Nadine, as well as three other suspects, allegedly involved in the scheme.

According to the document, the lawmaker and his wife, from at least 2018 until 2022, received “hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for using Menendez’s power and influence as Senator” to serve the interests of the three businessmen, as well as a foreign state actor, namely Egypt.

“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 reads.

A search of Menendez’s home yielded some $100,000-worth of gold bars, as well as nearly $500,000 in hidden cash, according to prosecutors.

The new indictment is the second corruption scandal for Menendez while in office. In 2015, the senator was indicted in New Jersey on bribery charges in a scheme between him and a wealthy eye doctor. The medic allegedly traded various ‘gifts’ worth nearly $1 million for political favors from the senator. The case ended in a mistrial in late 2017, when a jury failed to reach a verdict.

Menendez has been serving as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since early 2021. He has been an active proponent of sanctions on Russia imposed by the US since the start of the Ukraine conflict, repeatedly arguing the measures were critical to “limit Russia’s ability to participate in the global economy, restrict critical exports, and… impose costs on Russian elites.”