Sen. Bob Menendez and Wife Indicted After Allegedly Accepting the Most Outrageous Bribes

I’m a sucker for a politically corrupt Bonnie and Clyde story.

Sen. Bob Menendez and Wife Indicted After Allegedly Accepting the Most Outrageous Bribes
Photo:Bloomgberg / US Dept of Justice (Getty Images)

With so many celebrity divorces these days, it’s nice to see a high-profile couple working together for once! Never mind that their joint interests are corruption, international bribery schemes, and “secretly aid[ing] the government of Egypt,” according to a federal indictment.

On Friday morning, Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and his wife, Nadine Arslanian Menendez, were indicted by a federal court on bribery charges. According to court documents, the couple accepted “gold, cash, a luxury convertible, payments toward [Nadine’s] home mortgage, compensation for a low-or-no-show job for [Nadine], home furnishings, and other things of value” from three New Jersey businessmen in exchange for influence in foreign affairs.

Menendez holds a leadership position on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. After the charges were announced, Menendez’s team released a statement calling the the charges “false” and part of an “active smear campaign of anonymous sources and innuendos to create an air of impropriety where none exists.”

“Those behind this campaign simply cannot accept that a first-generation Latino American from humble beginnings could rise to be a U.S. Senator and serve with honor and distinction,” the statement continued.

Starting in 2018, shortly after Menendez’s first bribery case ended in a mistrial, acquittal, and dropped charges (completely unrelated! the man stays busy!), Menendez and his new girlfriend at the time, Nadine, formed relationships with Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes, per the indictment. Over the next few years, Hana, Uribe, and Daibes allegedly gifted cash, gold, a Mercedes Benz, and a bunch of other expensive items estimated to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to the couple. It paid off. At one point, the indictment says Menendez, at the request of Hana and an Egyptian official that was conveyed through Nadine, ghost-wrote a letter from the Egyptian government to other U.S. Senators convincing them to release $300 million in aid to Egypt.

Menendez and his wife, plus the three Jersey businessmen, are expected to report to a federal courthouse in Manhattan on September 27.

Ever since my hometown’s county executive reportedly instructed his wife to stuff nearly $80,000 in her bra to hide it from incoming federal agents in 2010, I’m a sucker for a politically corrupt Bonnie and Clyde story. Menendez and Nadine’s story is certainly audacious enough to qualify. Here are some standout allegations from Friday’s indictment that earn it a high-ranking spot in the genre:

Literal Gold Bars

Gold bars?! What is this?! Mesopotamia?! Looney Toons Mesopotamia!? There’s something that feels sooo cartoonishly corrupt about literal gold bars. Not to mention, highly inconvenient, too. Imagine having to lug these things around indiscreetly.

But what really takes the cake is that after receiving some gold bars, the indictment describes web records showing that Menendez Googled, “How much is one kilo of gold worth?” Love knowing that he allegedly did a ton of corrupt stuff only to not really know how much he would make off of it.

Cash in Jackets

Two of the photos included in the indictment show wads of cash found in the New Jersey couple’s home; over $480,000 in cash was found by the feds in the house. Specifically, the indictment shows stacks of money found in jackets with Menendez’s name monogrammed on them. In the other pocket was a smoking gun. Just kidding, but like…

Some Excellent Texts

Apologies for being somewhat ageist, but it’s always a treat when boomers’ incriminating texts get leaked. In January 2022, after a series of calls between Nadine, Menendez, and Daibes’ unnamed driver whose fingerprints were later found all over envelopes of cash found at the Menendez residence, court documents show that Nadine texted Daibes, “Thank you. Christmas in January.” In March 2020, she texted an unnamed Egyptian official, “Anytime you need anything you have my number and we will make everything happen.” Insane! So bold!

Nadine’s texts lead me to the final jaw-dropping gift….

The Mercedes Benz

“Congratulations mon amour de la vie, we are the proud owners of a 2019 Mercedes.❤️,” Nadine texted her husband after receiving money to help pay for a new car from Uribe, per the indictment. A few months beforehand, Nadine had texted Hana a number of times, complaining about how she didn’t have a car after she got into a car accident. The Benz might as well have had a bumper sticker that said, “Honk if you love Egypt.”

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Share Tweet Submit Pin