Pro Armenian Senator’s wife had corrupt deal with COVID lab

    WORLD  16 April 2024 - 14:47

    The six-figure gig Sen. Bob Menendez’s wife landed with an Egypt-linked COVID-19 lab, and the millions of dollars of testing business it did in their home state of New Jersey, were “a direct outgrowth” of the sprawling international bribery scheme engulfing the pair, according to court filings by the Department of Justice—filings that substantiate an investigation by The Daily Beast last October.

    As The Daily Beast revealed six months ago, the senator’s wife and co-defendant worked for Fusion Diagnostics Laboratory during the 2020 through 2021 period in which it secured deals to run testing facilities across the northern Garden State turf that has long served as Menendez’s political base, allowing it to draw more than $10 million in federal funding. The new filings by prosecutors, who accuse the Menendezes of acting as agents of the Egyptian and Qatari governments in exchange for bribes from connected businessmen, exposed additional details about the deal, including how much Nadine Menendez got paid: “over $100,000,” according to the brief submitted on April 12.

    The documents also assert that Fusion, and the senator’s spouse, benefited from the tremendous power the once-mighty Menendezes wielded in the towns and cities controlled by New Jersey’s notorious Democratic Party machine.

    “The relationship between the Menendezes and the laboratory company was a direct outgrowth of the charged bribe scheme,” the Justice Department wrote. “The Laboratory Company CEO paid Nadine Menendez in exchange for Menendez’s efforts to pressure and advise various New Jersey city officials to use the Laboratory Company to perform COVID-19 testing services in their municipalities, including providing government space and using government resources to publicize the Laboratory Company’s testing services.”

    The feds also spelled out how exactly Nadine Menendez, who has a degree in French and no prior experience in the medical field, got her job: namely, an employee of Wael Hana—one of the three businessmen accused of bribing the senator and his bride—introduced the duo to Fusion’s co-owner and CEO Moataz Abdalla. As The Daily Beast reported previously, Hana and Abdalla are each natives of Egypt, and their companies both maintain ties to the country.

    The Menendezes seek to block evidence regarding the lab payment arrangement on the grounds that Abdalla denied to federal agents both that Menendez facilitated his business deals with the New Jersey municipalities and that he hired the senator’s wife because of her then-powerful husband. Abdalla issued similar denials in text message exchanges with The Daily Beast last fall.

    He did not respond to calls or texts for this story. Abdalla has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

    The filings from April 12 represent only the latest instance of The Daily Beast’s reporting anticipating key facets of the Menendez corruption case, which have forced him from his perch atop the powerful Committee on Foreign Relations and compelled him to seek re-election as an independent rather than a Democrat.

    The Daily Beast was the first to identify one of the businessmen involved in the alleged corruption scheme as real estate developer Fred Daibes, and the first to discover the involvement of an investment firm linked to the Qatari royal family, months before the Department of Justice leveled charges detailing the role of each in the scandal.

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