The FBI is conducting a counterintelligence investigation into whether Egypt’s intelligence services were involved in a bribery scheme described in the indictment of Senator Bob Menendez and his wife. The investigation is separate from the federal corruption case that accuses Menendez of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez had oversight over billions of dollars in U.S. aid to Egypt, and investigators are looking into whether Egyptian intelligence officials or their associates tried to gain access to Menendez through his wife.
According to the indictment, Menendez accepted bribes to use his political position for the benefit of the Egyptian government and to enrich a group of Egyptian American businessmen. Three businessmen from New Jersey, Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes, have been named as co-defendants in the case. They are accused of providing bribes ranging from gold bars to a luxury car worth over $60,000. Hana, who was arraigned on Tuesday, pleaded not guilty and denied any ties to Egyptian intelligence.
The charges against Menendez and his wife include conspiracy to commit bribery, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, and conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right. Menendez has denied all of the charges and has rejected calls to resign. The investigation into potential involvement of Egyptian intelligence in the scheme is aimed at determining if Menendez’s marriage was used as a way to provide plausible deniability or maintain an arm’s length from any transactions with intelligence operatives. The Egyptian Embassy in Washington has not yet responded to requests for comment on the matter.