Bob Menendez accused of aiding Qatar in new allegations

US Senator Bob Menendez is facing new allegations of accepting bribes and using his political influence to aid a foreign government: this time Qatar.

In a superseding indictment unveiled by federal prosecutors on Tuesday, Mr Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, is accused of accepting gifts from Fred Daibes, a co-defendant and New Jersey businessman, in exchange for his assistance in securing millions of dollars from an investment fund with ties to the Qatar government.

Mr Menendez allegedly accepted luxury watches, a gold bar and cash, in exchange for introducing Mr Daibes to a member of the Qatari royal family, who was also a principal of the Qatari Investment Company, as well as publicly making positive statements about Qatar.

Federal prosecutors alleged that Mr Menendez accepted the gifts “knowing” that Mr Daibes expected him to “induce the Qatari Investment Company to invest with Dabies” which included “taking action favorable to the Government of Qatar.”

The superseding indictment also alleges a Qatari official provided a relative of Mr Menendez’s wife, Nadine Menendez, tickets to the 2023 Formula One Grand Prix – at the request of the New Jersey senator.

It is the latest accusation against the New Jersey senator who was indicted alongside his wife and three businessmen in September for allegedly participating in a bribery scheme that benefited Egypt.

Sen Bob Menendez and his wife Nadine Arslanian, pose for a photo on Capitol Hill in Washington in December 2022 (AP)
Sen Bob Menendez and his wife Nadine Arslanian, pose for a photo on Capitol Hill in Washington in December 2022 (AP)

The new indictment broadens the timeline and provides more details about the alleged bribery scheme.

Though there are no new charges, the indictment adds allegations that Mr Menendez participated in the scheme involving Qatar from 2021 up until 2023.

This included making supportive statements about Qatar while investment discussions were occurring between 2021 and 2022, while Mr Menendez served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The superseding indictment also alleges, Mr Menendez and his wife allegedly attempted to “cover up” the bribery scheme they are accused of participating in after federal agents searched the couple’s home.

Mr and Ms Menendez are accused of trying to repay more than $20k worth of bribe money under the guise of loans. The couple allegedly used the money to pay for a Mercedes-Benz and home mortgage payments.

So far, Mr Menendez and the four co-defendants have pled not guilty to the charges.

A trial is expected to begin in May.