Written by Tom Hales and Luke Cohen
(Reuters) – Three years in the past, New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez introduced that after months of turmoil attributable to the coronavirus, he had married Nadine Arslanian in a socially distanced ceremony, calling it “a fantastic, joyful day that we are going to always remember.” .
What he did not say was that over the earlier two years the girl who was his then-girlfriend had usually stood by his facet when he met with Egyptian officers to debate delicate matters together with gross sales of U.S. army tools.
He now faces federal prison prices alongside his spouse of 2020, who performs a starring position in a conspiracy indictment for arranging and attending conferences at which businessmen and international officers sought to curry favor with Menendez.
The senator stated prosecutors misrepresented the info and mischaracterized routine legislative work. Arslanian, who’s also called Nadine Menendez, has been denied any wrongdoing and can vigorously defend towards the accusations in courtroom, her lawyer stated.
Arslanian, 56, reportedly met Menendez, 69, at an IHOP pancake joint, which the senator praised as a favourite place to eat. The pair started relationship in 2018, in accordance with the indictment, which stated she was unemployed on the time.
In 2019, Menendez proposed to her on the Taj Mahal in India, presenting Arslanian with a hoop whereas singing her track “By no means Sufficient” from the musical movie “The Biggest Showman.”
The indictment stated that shortly after assembly with Menendez, Arslanian labored with businessman Wael Hanna to introduce the senator, the highly effective chairman of the US Senate International Relations Committee, to Egyptian officers.
She was at Menendez’s facet when he met with Egyptian officers in his Senate workplace in March 2018, in accordance with the indictment, one in every of a number of conferences she would attend.
In Could of that 12 months, Menendez requested delicate info from the US State Division concerning personnel on the US Embassy in Cairo, and despatched it to Arslanian. She then forwarded the message to Egyptian officers, in accordance with the indictment.
The indictment stated that in change for Menendez’s promise to assist Egypt profit from US army gross sales, she rewarded Hanna Arslanian with a no-show job at his firm and $23,000 to get her home out of foreclosures proceedings.
In June of 2022, officers searched the condo Menendez and Arslanian shared in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, and located greater than $100,000 in gold bullion and $480,000 in money. Arslanyan’s secure deposit field contained one other $70,000.
Arslanian, a registered Republican, in accordance with voting data, is accused of organising an organization known as Strategic Worldwide Enterprise Consulting with Menendez’s assist to obtain bribery funds.
“Each time I dealer a deal, I ask for cash and that is my consulting firm,” she informed a relative who was not recognized, in accordance with the indictment.
(Reporting by Tom Hales in Wilmington, Delaware, and Luke Cohen in New York; Modifying by Daniel Wallis)