At the very least 4 gold bars discovered within the FBI search of Sen. Bob Menendez’s house had been directly linked to a New Jersey businessman now accused of bribing Menendez, the state’s senior senator, Bergen County prosecutor’s information from a 2013 theft case present.

The businessman, Fred Daibes, reported to police that he was the sufferer of an armed theft in 2013, and he requested police to get well the gold bars stolen from him. Daibes reported that $500,000 in money and 22 gold bars have been stolen, Edgewater, New Jersey, police information present. Police later caught 4 individuals with the stolen items.

To get his property again, Daibes signed “property launch types” certifying the gold bars belonged to him, the information present.

“Every gold bar has its personal serial quantity,” Daibes advised investigators in a 2013 transcript made by prosecutors and police who recovered — and returned to Daibes — the stolen valuables. “They’re all stamped…you’ll by no means see two stamped the identical method.”

A decade later, it stated, the FBI discovered 4 gold bars with distinctive serial numbers within the Clifton, New Jersey, house of Menendez and his spouse, Nadine.

Within the bribery indictment towards Menendez and Daibes this yr, prosecutors included photographs of a number of the alleged bribes present in Menendez’s house, together with 4 gold bars. The serial numbers of the 4 gold bars within the bribery indictment seem like precise matches to 4 of the gold bars Daibes licensed as having been stolen and returned to him within the 2013 theft case.

For instance, a Swiss Financial institution Corp. gold bar with serial quantity 590005 that the FBI stated it seized from Menendez’s house in a search this yr had additionally been reported stolen by Daibes — and returned to him — a decade earlier. Daibes’ signature and initials seem on the proof log, which included every particular gold bar with its corresponding serial quantity.

Federal investigators allege Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., received bribes in the form of gold bars. (U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York)

Federal investigators allege Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., acquired bribes within the type of gold bars. (U.S. District Court docket, Southern District of New York)

“All of this spells unhealthy information for Sen. Menendez, as a result of the chain of custody — it seems — goes to be very easy to show up,” NBC authorized analyst Danny Cevallos stated.

It was November 2013 when Daibes, a millionaire developer, advised police that he had been the sufferer of a gunpoint theft in his penthouse house in Edgewater. He stated he was tied to a chair because the thieves made off with money, gold and jewellery.

The 4 suspects have been rapidly caught and later pleaded responsible. Daibes attended court docket proceedings because the sufferer. On Dec. 13, 2013, Daibes signed paperwork to get his property again, together with the gold bars.

Cevallos stated that if Daibes, in truth, gave gold bars to Bob and Nadine Menendez, that alone doesn’t show the crime of bribery.

“Was there a quid professional quo? Was it in alternate for the senator’s official acts — or guarantees of the identical?” Cevallos stated.

The FBI stated the quid professional quo between Menendez and Daibes included efforts by Menendez to affect the New Jersey U.S. legal professional’s workplace, which in 2018 was investigating Daibes in relation to a separate crime of financial institution fraud.

Daibes and Menendez, together with different co-defendants Nadine Menendez, Wael Hana and Jose Uribe, all deny any wrongdoing and have pleaded not responsible.

“The allegations towards me are simply that — allegations,” Menendez stated at a information convention after the bribery indictment was unsealed. In a press release in regards to the ties of the gold bars discovered at his house to a decade-old theft, counsel for Menendez stated he “is not going to be commenting on nameless media leaks designed to prejudice his proper to a good trial. He appears to be like ahead to addressing the federal government’s claims in court docket, based mostly on an entire report of the proof.”

Menendez has denied taking payoffs from Daibes despite the fact that prosecutors allege testing reveals Daibes’ fingerprints and DNA are on a number of the tens of hundreds of {dollars} in money present in Menendez’s house.

“For 30 years, I’ve withdrawn hundreds in money from my private financial savings account, which I’ve saved for emergencies and due to the historical past of my household going through confiscation in Cuba,” Menendez stated.

Menendez and his spouse are additionally accused of taking payoffs from Hana, a businessman, the FBI stated. In alternate, investigators alleged, Menendez used his place as chair of the Senate Overseas Relations Committee to assist Hana win an unique halal meat inspection contract with the Egyptian authorities. In addition they stated that in alternate for bribes, Menendez tried to help the federal government of Egypt with arms gross sales.

Prosecutors stated Menendez additionally accepted a Mercedes and different payoffs from Uribe. In alternate, prosecutors stated, Menendez supplied to attempt to assist Uribe with an ongoing state legal professional common’s investigation.

As for Daibes’ separate financial institution fraud case, a federal choose in New Jersey threw out a plea deal by which he pleaded responsible to at least one rely and confronted a sentence of probation after the brand new bribery expenses got here to mild.

An legal professional for Daibes stated he’s assured his shopper “can be exonerated when all of the proof is heard.”

“The allegations towards me are simply that — allegations,” Menendez stated at a information convention in his house state in September after the bribery indictment was unsealed.

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