Robert Menendez, a U.S. Senator known for his skepticism about Bitcoin from New Jersey, now finds himself in the middle of a storm. He’s facing charges tied to allegedly accepting bribes in the form of cash, gold, and even mortgage payments. These come from an alleged illicit bond with three prominent businessmen in his home state.
In a recent indictment revealed on Friday, it’s said, “From 2018 through around 2022, both Menendez and his wife, Nadine Menendez, allegedly took in hundreds of thousands as bribes. In return, Menendez utilized his political clout.”
A Critic of Cryptocurrencies
Interestingly, the Senator has been an active critic of cryptocurrencies for years, pointing out their potential in facilitating illegal activities and assisting international entities in bypassing U.S. sanctions. This is quite ironic considering the recent allegations of illegal activities that Menedez is being accused of.
Federal authorities claim that Menendez didn’t just stop at pocketing bribes. They believe he played a key role in aiding three entrepreneurs, Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes. He’s also alleged to have assisted the Egyptian government by supplying them with sensitive U.S. information. A noteworthy charge among these is that Menendez reportedly leveraged his position to halt a criminal investigation against Uribe in New Jersey. Additionally, he’s said to have shielded a business advantage Hana received from the Egyptian government – a favor for which he was allegedly compensated.
These allegations are baseless. My dedication remains unwavering, and I won’t be sidelined by these claims.
Reacting to the charges, Menendez stated, “These allegations are baseless. My dedication remains unwavering, and I won’t be sidelined by these claims.” As things stand, the senator is facing three major federal charges. Should he be found guilty, he could be looking at a maximum sentence of 20 years behind bars.
Shining a light on the extent of the alleged bribery, a search warrant executed in June 2022 turned up more than $500,000 in cash, luxury vehicles, and gold bars valued at over $100,000 at Menendez’s residence and safety deposit box. Authorities aim to confiscate these assets.
It’s ironic that while Menendez warned about the anonymous nature of Bitcoin transactions facilitating crime, he’s now accused of resorting to traditional methods for his alleged misdemeanors. Back in 2017, he even reached out to FinCEN, cautioning them about Bitcoin being a top pick for lawbreakers.
a haven for money launderers, felons, and nations looking to dodge U.S. sanctions
In the crypto sphere, Menendez gained recognition for backing the Accountability for Cryptocurrency in El Salvador (ACES) Act. The legislation scrutinizes El Salvador’s move to legalize Bitcoin, questioning its potential threats to cybersecurity, economic steadiness, and the nation’s democratic principles. Additionally, Menendez didn’t hold back when Facebook introduced its since-abandoned cryptocurrency project, Libra, in 2019. He expressed concerns, mentioning, “Libra might just turn out to be the unregulated frontier for cryptos, a haven for money launderers, felons, and nations looking to dodge U.S. sanctions.” during a Senate discussion.
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