Sen. Menendez’s Wife Received Engagement Ring in Bribery Plot

( – New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez’s wife Nadine’s jewelry is now implicated in the corruption and bribery investigation swirling around the politician.

Federal prosecutors have charged the Senator and his wife with taking bribes from several businessmen in exchange for performing tasks favorable to the businessmen. Investigators found several hundred thousand dollars worth of actual gold and cash at Menendez’s home last fall. Piled on top of that are more federal charges alleging the politician acted as a foreign agent for Egypt and Qatar, using his seat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for that purpose.

Investigators now say Nadine Menendez got a pricy engagement ring as part of the alleged bribes. Paperwork filed by prosecutors this week alleges the diamond ring was just part of a bribe worth $150,000 that the couple took in exchange for Bob Menendez using his position to influence the outcome of an insurance fraud case. Some of the rest of that money, authorities claim, was used to buy Nadine Menendez a Mercedes convertible.

Mrs. Menendez may not have gotten the entire value she might have been expecting, though. According to legal filings, Wael Hana, a businessman who is a co-defendant in the case, bought her the ring but kept some of the bribe cash for himself.

All the defendants in the case have pleaded not guilty.

According to the allegations, businessman Hana was a key player in setting up an agreement to get bribery money to the Mendendezes in exchange for Bob Menendez using his political power to benefit not only Hana but also the government of Egypt.

Among the evidence, prosecutors put forward is the claim that an anonymous player in the alleged scheme wondered if Hana would keep some of the money intended for the U.S. couple. The source said Hana might “ruin things with Bob” just as the Senator was getting seriously engaged in the scheme.

Recent filings in the case give a deeper look into what investigators found in the Menendez basement. In addition to the gold bars, there were apparently several bags full of more than $100,000 in cash, as well as boots filled with it. One boot “stuffed with cash” apparently had more than $5,000 worth of $50 notes.

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