Gold bars found in Bob Menendez home previously belonged to New Jersey businessman accused of bribing him: FBI

"Each gold bar has its own serial number. They’re all stamped…you’ll never see two stamped the same way."

Hannah Nightingale Washington DC

A new report has revealed that at least four of the gold bars that were found in Senator Bob Menendez’s home by FBI agents in September are linked to the 2013 robbery of a New Jersey businessman who has now been accused of bribing Menendez.

According to NBC News, in 2013, businessman Fred Daibes reported to police that he was the victim of an armed robbery that took place at his Edgewood, NJ apartment. He said he was tied to a chair while robbers made off with gold, jewelry, and cash. Daibes reported that items and cash totalling $500,000 were stolen.

Police later caught four suspects in connection with the robbery, who pleaded guilty. Daibes attended the court proceedings as the victim, and signed property release forms on December 13, 2013, to get his items back, which included the gold bars.

“Each gold bar has its own serial number,” Daibes told investigators in a 2013 transcript from prosecutors and police who recovered the stolen items. “They’re all stamped…you’ll never see two stamped the same way.”

10 years later, four gold bars were found in the Clifton, NJ home of Menendez and his wife, Nadine, with the serial numbers appearing to match those that were once stolen from Daibes.

One such bar, bearing the Swiss Bank Corporation marking and the serial number 590005 was depicted in the bribery indictment against Menendez and Daibes. This bar was among the items reported stolen by Daibes, and "Daibes’ signature and initials appear on the evidence log, which included each specific gold bar with its corresponding serial number," NBC News reports.

“All of this spells bad news for Sen. Menendez, because the chain of custody — it appears — is going to be really easy to prove up,” said NBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos, who added that if Daibes did give the gold bars to Menendez, that alone would not prove bribery.

“Was there a quid pro quo? Was it in exchange for the senator’s official acts — or promises of the same?” Cevallos said.

The FBI indictment alleges that Daibes, along with fellow businessmen Wael Hana and Jose Uribe, participated "in a years-long bribery scheme," and that the Menendezes "accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes" from the three in exchange for Menendez’s "agreement to use his official position to protect and enrich them and to benefit the Government of Egypt."

Menendez has denied the allegations, stating in a news conference after the indictment was unsealed, "The allegations against me are just that — allegations."

Counsel for Menendez told NBC News in response to the revelations that he was in possession of gold bars previously owned by Daibes that he "will not be commenting on anonymous media leaks designed to prejudice his right to a fair trial. He looks forward to addressing the government’s claims in court, based on a complete record of the evidence.”

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