A businessman named Wael Hana, who was involved in a bribery scheme with Democratic Senator Robert Menendez and his wife, has been arrested after voluntarily returning from Egypt. Hana is one of three businessmen who allegedly provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to Menendez in exchange for using his power and influence to benefit their interests. Hana pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to commit honest services fraud. Prosecutors claim that Menendez and his wife accepted the bribes to enrich themselves and benefit Egypt’s government.
According to the indictment, the bribes included cash, gold bars, mortgage payments, and compensation. Agents found over $480,000 in cash during a search of the Menendez couple’s home. The indictment also reveals that Hana hired Nadine Menendez, the senator’s wife, for a no-show position at his company, in exchange for the senator facilitating foreign military sales and financing to Egypt. Menendez also intervened to protect a monopoly for Hana’s company, causing increased costs for U.S. meat suppliers and providing a revenue stream for the bribes.
Despite calls from nearly two dozen Senate Democrats for Menendez to step down, he has refused and asserts that he will be exonerated. Hana, along with two other businessmen charged in the case, faces the possibility of imprisonment if convicted. Hana’s maximum sentence would be five years for bribery and 20 years for fraud.