News ID: 114286
Published: 1250 GMT March 23, 2015

US to file corruption charges against Sen. Menendez this week

US to file corruption charges against Sen. Menendez this week

The US Justice Department is expected to file corruption charges against Democratic Senator Robert Menendez as early as this week.

Citing people familiar with the investigation, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Washington-based federal prosecutors would prepare to file charges against the senator in New Jersey.

The investigators would file charges against him “for official actions he allegedly took on behalf of, and gifts he received from, his close personal friend, Dr. Salomon Melgen.”

Melgen, a multimillionaire, has been a political supporter of the senator during the past years.

The senator, however, insisted that he has always been honest in his more than 20 years in Congress.

A lawyer for Menendez declined to comment on the issue.

In one case, investigators focused in part on plane trips the New Jersey Democrat took to the Dominican Republic as a guest of his friend five years ago, according to people familiar with the probe.

When the corruption charges first emerged in 2013, Menendez decided to pay back his friend $58,000 for the plane trips.

The sources also said Menendez has been under investigation for possible involvement in supporting Melgen's business interest in a Dominican Republic government contract.

Menendez pressed Homeland Security officials in 2013 not to provide cargo-screening equipment to the Dominican Republic.

Melgen controlled a private company with a competing plan to screen cargo in the Dominican Republic. His relationship to the company was disclosed in a court filing.

The FBI has also investigated the case to find out whether he may have improperly used his influence with the Department of Homeland Security on behalf of the doctor.

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