Sen. Bob Menendez allegedly acted as a foreign agent to benefit the Egyptian government during a period when he chaired the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to a new indictment filed Thursday in federal court.
The superseding indictment alleges that New Jersey’s senior senator, his wife Nadine Menendez and New Jersey businessman Wael Hana, originally from Egypt, conspired for Menendez to act as a foreign agent from January 2018 through at least June 2022 for the Egyptian government and Egyptian officials, violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
What did Menendez do for Egypt?
After 2018, Nadine Menendez and Hana worked to introduce Egyptian intelligence and military officials to Menendez for the purpose of “establishing and solidifying” a corrupt agreement, with the assistance of Daibes and Uribe who provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to Menendez and his wife, the indictment alleged.
In exchange, Menendez allegedly acted and breached his duty to benefit the government of Egypt, Hana, and others, including with respect to foreign military sales and foreign military financing.
Menendez, as the chairman or the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, “possessed substantial influence over foreign military sales and foreign military financing to Egypt,” the indictment said.
Shared sensitive info on U.S. Embassy staff in Cairo
Menendez allegedly texted sensitive information regarding the number and nationality of staff members at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to Nadine Menendez in May 2018, and she forwarded the message to Hana, who forwarded it to an Egyptian government official.
Ghost-wrote letter for Egypt
Menendez also ghost-wrote a letter that same month on behalf of Egypt to other U.S. senators advocating for them to release a hold on $300 million in aid to the country.
Read the indictment: Sen. Menendez charged with acting as a foreign agent for Egypt. Read the new indictment
Lifted holds on weapons for Egypt
In the ensuing years, Menendez allegedly signed off on millions in weapons and ammunition sales to Egypt, as well as military financing.
In May of 2018, during a dinner, Menendez allegedly disclosed to Hana non-public information. Shortly after the dinner, Hana texted an Egyptian official, “The ban on small arms and ammunition to Egypt has been lifted. That means sales can begin. That will include sniper rifles among other articles.”
In July of 2018, Menendez met with an Egyptian official and other Egyptian military officials to discuss foreign military financing and sales, during a meeting that was “arranged, scheduled and attended” by Nadine Menendez and Hana, the indictment says.
Before the meeting, the Egyptian government, through Hana and Nadine Menendez, provided Menendez briefing materials “advocating for Egyptian foreign policy and goals,” the indictment said.
The next day, Menendez allegedly sent a text to his wife.
“Tell Will (Hana) I am going to sign off this sale to Egypt today. Egypt: 46,000 120MM Target Practice Rounds and 10,000 Rounds Tank Ammunition: $99 million.”
What is FARA?
The Foreign Agents Registration Act is a federal registration and disclosure statute that requires anyone agreeing to act in the United States as “an agent of foreign principal” to register with the United States Attorney General if that person agrees to engage directly or through another person in certain types of conduct.
Types of conduct include political activities, political consulting, public relations or publicity activities for or in the in the interest of the foreign principal.
Registrations are made to the National Security Division’s Foreign Agents Registration Act Unity within the U.S. Department of Justice.
“The purpose of FARA is to prevent convert influence by foreign principals,” the updated indictment said.
Public officials including members of Congress are prohibited by law from agreeing to be or acting as an agent of foreign principal required to register under FARA.
Nadine Menendez and Hana never registered with FARA.
What is a foreign agent?
An “agent of a foreign principal” is any person who acts as an agent, representative, employee, or servant, or otherwise acts at the order, request, or under the direction or control of a “foreign principal” and does any of the following:
Any person who acts as an agent, representative, employee, or servant or acts at the order or request of a “foreign principal” to:
Engage within the United States in political activities, intending to influence any U.S. government official or the American public regarding domestic or foreign policy or the political or public interests of a foreign government or foreign political party.
Acts within the United States as a public relations counsel, publicity agent, or political consultant.
Solicits, collects, disburses, or dispenses contributions, loans, money, or other things of value within the United States.
Represents within the United States the interests of a foreign principal before U.S. government officials or agencies.
What is a superseding indictment?
Menendez was indicted last month on corruption charges for allegedly accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from three New Jersey businessmen in exchange for helping them enrich themselves and trying to get them out of trouble, according to the indictment, unsealed in New York.
Menendez’s wife — Nadine Arslanian Menendez — was also indicted in the alleged scheme. The three businessmen — Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes — have been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to commit honest services fraud.
The indictment was amended on Oct. 12, superseding the original indictment. The document was replaced listing the formal charges against the defendants with new information and charges.
A superseding indictment is typically approved by a grand jury after additional information or evidence has been obtained.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: What did Menendez do for Egypt? Here’s what indictment says