Federal prosecutors announced that they seized two gold bars worth 100 thousand dollars and 480 thousand dollars in cash during a search of the home of Democratic Party New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez and his Armenian wife Nadine Arslanian as part of an investigation that has been ongoing for over a year.
In the 39-page indictment presented to the Federal Court for the Southern District of New York, it was stated that Menendez was involved in corruption activities such as improper home mortgage payments, improper work compensation and luxury vehicle purchases, as well as gold and cash using his senatorial office. Menendez and his wife, Nadine Arslanian, were accused of taking bribes in their dealings with New Jersey businesspeople.
In the indictment against Menendez and his wife, the company called "IS EG Halal" operating in New Jersey, which is stated to be owned by business people of Egyptian origin, attracted attention.
It was noted that IS EG Halal, whose branch in Edgewater was displayed, undertook the halal certification throughout the United States (US) due to its relations with Menendez, despite its lack of experience in the sector.
IS EG Halal branch in Edgewater
It was among the allegations that Menendez influenced the US Department of Agriculture by using his senatorial position in favour of IS EG Halal's supply of halal meat.
The indictment also included a photo of Menendez and his wife eating at a steakhouse in Washington with people identified as business people from New Jersey.
While the contracts of many companies were suddenly canceled in 2019, IS EG's special contract with Egypt to obtain halal meat certification worldwide attracted attention. In addition to this, he is the first senator in US history to be charged with two separate criminal offenses.
With the indictment, Menendez, the Democratic Senator of New Jersey, was charged with corruption for the second time in 10 years.
In 2015, the US senator was also accused of accepting gifts worth over $600,000 from a Florida ophthalmologist, including a private jet and a three-day stay at a 5-star hotel in Paris.
While the trial on the 2015 charge was ongoing, in November 2017, prosecutors dropped the case after the jury deadlocked due to charges such as bribery, fraud and conspiracy, and the judge dismissed some of the charges.
The son of a Cuban immigrant family, Bob Menendez is known in the US Congress for his hostility towards Türkiye and his closeness to the Greek and Armenian lobbies. His wife, Nadine Arslanian, was born in Lebanon to Armenian parents who fled during the Lebanese civil war.
Menendez, who is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which has a say on military aid to foreign countries in Congress, and who has frequently made a name for himself with his opposition to the sale of F-16s to Türkiye by the US, also brings up his discomfort with Türkiye's policies in the Mediterranean and Aegean.
On August 25, Menendez was awarded the Apostle Barnabas Gold Medal by the Greek Cypriot Orthodox Church for his contribution to the struggles of the Greeks and his service to "Hellenism".