Wael Hana, co-defendant in Robert Menendez case, arrested at JFK

One in every of three businessmen federally charged with coordinating a whole bunch of hundreds of {dollars} in bribes to Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and his spouse was arrested Tuesday after flying into New York.

Wael Hana, 40, was taken into custody at JFK Airport, in keeping with the Related Press. His lawyer, Lawrence Lustberg, advised CBS Information in an announcement that Hana “returned voluntarily from Egypt in order that he would have the chance to show his innocence which we’re assured he’ll be capable of do after a full and honest trial.”

Hana, a New Jersey resident initially from Egypt, was arraigned and pleaded not responsible to at least one depend every of conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to commit trustworthy companies fraud, in keeping with U.S. District Court docket for the Southern District of New York.

Prosecutors allege Menendez and his spouse, Nadine Menendez, accepted bribes in trade for utilizing the senator’s energy and affect to counterpoint and defend Hana and the 2 different indicted businessmen, in addition to profit Egypt’s authorities.

Menendez chaired the highly effective Senate International Relations Committee till he stepped down final week following his indictment, as required below Senate Democratic Caucus guidelines.

The bribes included money, gold bars, mortgage funds and compensation, the indictment reads, and federal brokers discovered greater than $480,000 in money throughout a search of the couple’s dwelling in June 2022.

Starting in 2018, in keeping with prosecutors, Hana and Nadine Menendez “labored to introduce Egyptian intelligence and navy officers to” the senator with the purpose of creating a “corrupt settlement.”

Among the many allegations was that Hana employed Nadine Menendez at his halal meat export certification firm, IS EG Halal Licensed, for a “low-or-no-show” place, in trade for the senator facilitating international navy gross sales and financing to Egypt, which had been withheld for years, the indictment learn.

Menendez additionally in 2019 intervened to guard a monopoly for Hana’s firm which led to elevated prices for U.S. meat suppliers and others, the charging paperwork stated. The monopoly in flip supplied a income stream for the bribes, prosecutors stated.

Almost two dozen Senate Democrats have known as on Menendez to step down, however he has up to now rejected these calls, saying that he’ll “be exonerated.”

The opposite two New Jersey businessmen charged within the case, 56-year-old Jose Uribe of Clifton, New Jersey, and 66-year-old Fred Daibes, face the identical fees as Hana.

If convicted as cost, Hana may face a most sentence of 5 years in jail for the bribery depend, and 20 years in jail for the fraud depend.

Melissa Quinn, Caroline Linton and Stefan Becket contributed to this report. 

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