According to an article from CBS News, one of three businessmen charged with coordinating hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to Democratic Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey and his wife has been arrested. Wael Hana, a New Jersey resident originally from Egypt, was taken into custody at JFK Airport. His attorney stated that Hana returned voluntarily from Egypt to have the opportunity to prove his innocence in a full and fair trial. Hana pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. Prosecutors allege that Menendez and his wife accepted bribes in exchange for using the senator’s power and influence to enrich and protect Hana and the other indicted businessmen, as well as benefit Egypt’s government.
The article further explains that the bribes included cash, gold bars, mortgage payments, and compensation. A search of the couple’s home in June 2022 resulted in the discovery of over $480,000 in cash. It is alleged that Hana and Nadine Menendez worked together to introduce Egyptian officials to the senator and establish a corrupt agreement. One particular allegation is that Hana hired Nadine Menendez at his company in exchange for the senator facilitating foreign military sales and financing to Egypt. Menendez also intervened in 2019 to protect a monopoly for Hana’s company, which led to increased costs for U.S. meat suppliers. Despite calls for his resignation, Menendez has stated that he believes he will be exonerated.
If convicted, Hana could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for bribery and 20 years for fraud. The other two businessmen charged in the case, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes, face the same charges as Hana.