US Senator Bob Menendez charged in bribery inquiry

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U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and his wife Nadine Arslanian arrive for a receptionGetty Images

New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez has been indicted for allegedly accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, according to the Justice Department.

Prosecutors say Mr Menendez and his wife, Nadine, accepted gold bars and cash from three New Jersey businessmen.

The senator and his wife accepted the money to “benefit the government of Egypt”, prosecutors claim.

The charges come after a years-long Justice Department investigation.

Prosecutors allege Mr Menendez and his wife accepted bribes including cash, gold, payments toward a home mortgage and a luxury vehicle from three New Jersey men: Wael Hana, Jose Uribe and Fred Daibes.

They did so in exchange for using Mr Menendez’s influence and power as a senator to protect the three businessmen and to “benefit the Arab Republic of Egypt”, according to the indictment.

Federal agents executed search warrants at Mr Menendez’s home and found evidence of the bribery agreements, including over $480,000 (£391,000) in cash, much of which was “stuffed into envelopes and hidden in clothing, closets and a safe”, prosecutors allege.

Agents said they also found a luxury vehicle paid for by Mr Uribe parked in the garage, as well as $100,000 of gold bars in the home, pictures of which were included in the indictment.

The BBC has reached out to Mr Menendez’s office for comment.

This is not the first time Mr Menendez faces bribery charges . He was indicted in New Jersey in 2015 over allegations he accepted bribes – including luxury vacations – from a wealthy Florida eye doctor. That case ended in a mistrial after jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

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