Businessman named in Menendez indictment arrested

September 27, 2023

Wael “Will” Hana, a co-defendant named in in the federal indictment on Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), was arrested Tuesday when he arrived at JFK airport.

Hana is one of three businessmen charged with coordinating “hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes” for the Senator and his wife, Nadine Menendez, in exchange for political influence.

Prosecutors say the bribes included gold bars, cash, home mortgage payments, a luxury car and compensation for a “low-or-no-show job”—Nadine Menendez was allegedly put on the payroll of New Jersey businessman Hana, according to the indictment.

The indictment alleges that a “corrupt relationship” between Sen. Menendez and three businessmen, one of whom was Hana, began around 2018 when Nadine Menendez “worked to introduce Egyptian intelligence and military officials” to her husband. The agreement called for Hana, with the help of the two other businessmen, to provide bribes to the couple in exchange for the Senator’s using his position to benefit the Egyptian government, Hana and others.

According to prosecutors, in 2019 Menendez intervened to protect a monopoly for Hana’s company which led to increased costs for U.S. meat suppliers and others. The monopoly then allegedly provided a revenue stream for the bribes.

Hana, a 40-year-old New Jersey resident who hails from Egypt, has been arraigned and pleaded not guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit bribery and conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, according to U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Altogether as of Tuesday, at least 17 Democratic Senators have called on Menendez to leave office, including fellow New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has also called for Menendez to resign, along with numerous other Democrats at both the state level and in Congress.

Menendez, who has stepped back from his position as Chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, on Monday defended his presumption of innocence and insisted he would not resign from the Senate altogether.

If convicted as charge, Hana could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the bribery count, and 20 years in prison for the fraud count.

PHOTO: Alleged cash found in Menendez clothing, per indictment 

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