QatarJanuary 3 2024, 6:48 am

US Senator Charged with Aiding Qatari Government Amid Bribery Allegations

On 2 Jan­u­ary 2024, The New York Times report­ed that Sen­a­tor Robert Menen­dez, a New Jer­sey Demo­c­rat, faces new charges for alleged­ly using his Sen­ate office to assist the Qatari gov­ern­ment in exchange for bribes. Fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tors in Man­hat­tan claim Menen­dez exploit­ed his posi­tion to help a New Jer­sey devel­op­er, Fred Daibes, obtain finan­cial back­ing from a Qatari invest­ment fund, in return for cash, gold bars, For­mu­la 1 tick­ets, and a design­er watch. This broad­ens ear­li­er accu­sa­tions against Menen­dez, includ­ing con­spir­ing to assist the Egypt­ian gov­ern­ment with­out prop­er reg­is­tra­tion. Despite adamant denials from Menen­dez’s lawyer, Adam Fee, who crit­i­cizes the gov­ern­men­t’s lack of sub­stan­tial proof and labels the case as “per­se­cu­tion, not a pros­e­cu­tion,” Menen­dez and his co-defen­dants have plead­ed not guilty. The tri­al is sched­uled for May in U.S. Dis­trict Court in Man­hat­tan. The case inten­si­fies scruti­ny on Qatar, which has faced numer­ous alle­ga­tions of using sophis­ti­cat­ed influ­ence oper­a­tions glob­al­ly. This indict­ment fol­lows a series of con­tro­ver­sial events involv­ing Qatari influ­ences, includ­ing the 2022 FIFA World Cup and a Euro­pean Par­lia­ment offi­cial’s indict­ment over Qatari bribes in 2022.


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