Senator Bob Menéndez, already indicted on three counts of corruption and influence peddling for the benefit of Egypt, was also accused of acting as an agent of this Middle Eastern power, judicial authorities in New York announced on Thursday.
Menéndez, who chairs the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had already been indicted in September, along with his wife and three alleged accomplices, for corruption.
Accused of having "used his power and influence" to benefit his alleged accomplices and the Egyptian government in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Cuban-born Democratic legislator refused to leave office, but "temporarily" resigned from the chairman of the commission and pleaded not guilty.
To the three charges of corruption and prevarication is now added, for the senator, his wife and one of the alleged accomplices, of having acted as an agent of a foreign power, specifically the Egyptian government, according to the indictment signed by the federal prosecutor of New York, Damian Williams.
He defends himself
The same Thursday, Menendez issued a statement after the new charges were filed, saying: "The government's latest accusation flies in the face of my long record of defending human rights and democracy in Egypt and challenging the leaders of that country, including President Abdelfatah El-Sisi.”
"Throughout my life I have been loyal to a single country: the United States of America, the land that my family chose to live in democracy and freedom," said the senator.
Other press sources indicated that the indictment alleges that Menendez conspired with his wife, Nadine Menendez, and New Jersey businessman Wael Hana, to have the senator act as an agent for Egypt.
The indictment includes new photographs of Menendez, his wife and Hana dining with Egyptian officials who prosecutors say were part of a "corrupt deal" to provide the senator and his wife with hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for lifting a blockade. to US military aid to Egypt.
"The new accusation that Wael Hana was part of a plot hatched during a dinner to recruit Senator Menendez as an agent of the Egyptian government is as absurd as it is false," replied Hana's lawyer, Larry Lustberg, in a statement to the television network. ABCNews.
"As with the other charges in this indictment, Mr. Hana will vigorously defend himself against this baseless allegation," he said.