Sen. Menendez accused of taking bribes from developer for Qatar deal

Senator publicly supported Qatar, in exchange for cash for Daibes’ NJ site

Updated Menendez Indictment Links NJ Developer to Qatar
Sen. Bob Menendez, Edgewater developer Fred Daibes, 115 River Road in Edgewater NJ (Getty, Google Maps)

New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez has been accused of taking bribes from local developer Fred Daibes to arrange an investment from the Qatari government, reported

According to an updated federal indictment filed on Tuesday, Menendez allegedly introduced Daibes to a member of the Qatari royal family in June 2021, who then made a multimillion dollar investment in one of Daibes’ properties. Gold bars were found in Menendez’s Englewood Cliffs home as one of his alleged payments.

As that investment was being negotiated, Menendez allegedly made public statements supporting Qatar’s government.

After one private event in Manhattan, Daibes allegedly sent Menendez a picture of a luxury watch website with five-figure models, asking, “How about one of these.” 

Menendez also allegedly communicated directly with the Qatari investor through encrypted messaging apps, according to the New York Times. The senator sent Daibes a press release in which “Menendez praised the government of Qatar,” and then texted Daibes, “You might want to send to them,” according to the indictment.

Daibes’ lawyer declined to comment on the latest indictment.

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The Qatari investment appears to center on a River Road property in Edgewater, a Quanta Resources Superfund site. Daibes spent over $42 million on three plots of land there and planned to build one of New Jersey’s largest retail complexes.  

But development on the site has been challenging, due to contamination stemming from its previous use as a coal-tar manufacturing plant and a waste oil disposal facility, leading Daibes’ partner Hongkun USA to pull out.

Heritage Advisors of London, an investment management firm founded by Sheikh Sultan bin Jassim Al Thani of Qatar, proceeded to buy a 23.7 percent stake in the site and adjoining parcels for $45 million, according to records. The property still can’t be developed, as a $163 million plan from the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the site remains years away.

Daibes has been credited as the “chief architect of Edgewater’s rebirth,” despite the controversies dotting his record.

The updated indictment of Menendez follows one from September, which charged the senator with taking hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, in exchange for using his “power and influence” to “benefit the government of Egypt.”

Holden Walter-Warner

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