Federal prosecutors and the FBI are investigating Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez and his wife over whether they accepted undisclosed lavish gifts from a halal meat company, according to two people with knowledge of the matter who spoke to The New York Times on Thursday.
The investigation into Menendez and his wife seeks to find out if they received a high-end car and a Washington apartment from IS EG Halal of Edgewater, New Jersey, which is also the subject of a criminal investigation, according to the people who spoke to the NYT. Menendez is currently the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman and has faced similar charges in the past; Menendez faced a 14-count indictment that included multiple counts of bribery and fraud in 2017, but a jury deadlocked on the corruption charges against him, resulting in a mistrial.
In 2019, the Egyptian government ruled to designate the meat company as the exclusive authorized importer of halal into the country from any global source, according to the NYT. The U.S. Department of Agriculture cautioned that this could lead to higher meat prices for Egypt’s large Muslim population and cause disruptions to the market.
In the wake of the decision, officials conducted a search into the company and its president, Wael Hana, according to the NYT.
During the search, authorities confiscated computers, cellphones and documents, court records indicate. The inquiry involving Menendez is connected to the government raid conducted at the meat company’s offices and the residence of its president, according to an attorney who met with prosecutors. (RELATED: ‘Were You Aware That SVB Was In Trouble?’: Dem Senator Presses Former SVB CEO On Stock Sales Before Bank’s Failure)
Hana is Christian and admitted in legal documents that he lacked previous experience in certifying that meat was prepared following Muslim law, according to the NYT. Halal means “permissible” in Arabic and when used to refer to meat, it indicates the animal was slaughtered in a certain way that is lawful to consume, according to Islamic Services of America.
Menendez said he is willing to aid investigators and a spokesman asserted the senator is optimistic the inquiry will reach a successful conclusion, according to the NYT.
“I am sure it is going to end up in absolutely nothing,” Menendez told NBC last week.
The meat company gave no gifts to Menendez or his wife, a spokesperson told the NYT.
“IS EG Halal was awarded its halal certification contract with Egypt without any assistance whatsoever from Senator Menendez or any other U.S. public official,” the spokesperson stated.
Menendez did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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