Gold bars stashed in Dem senator’s home recovered after 2013 violent robbery

Several gold bars discovered by federal agents in Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez’s residence as part of a high-profile bribery investigation can be traced to a violent robbery a decade ago.

According to a sprawling indictment unsealed by federal prosecutors in September, Menendez and his wife allegedly played a role in a years-long bribery scheme that involved the Egyptian government and local businessmen including Fred Daibes, a wealthy New Jersey real estate developer. Prosecutors revealed they retrieved multiple gold bars from Menendez’s home which were allegedly used as payment in the scheme.

At least four of the gold bars discovered by investigators can be linked to Daibes, both because of their unique engraved serial numbers and thanks to court documents related to a 2013 robbery which Daibes was a victim of, an NBC New York investigation revealed Monday. In November 2013, four assailants beat and robbed Daibes at gunpoint in his Edgewater, New Jersey, apartment, stealing 22 gold bars, jewelry and cash.

“Each gold bar has its own serial number,” Daibes told local investigators in a 2014 transcript obtained by NBC New York. “They’re all stamped … you’ll never see two stamped the same way.”

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An evidence photo published in the September federal indictment of Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., shows a gold bar with the serial number “590005.” The same gold bar was stolen in a 2013 robbery. (United States District Court )

Photographs released by the Department of Justice in September showing the gold bars discovered at Menendez’s home, for example, reveal one of the bars has a serial number of “590005.” Daibes reported a gold bar with that same serial number stolen during the 2013 heist, NBC New York reported.

And the federal indictment notes that the serial numbers on the gold bars indicate they had previously been possessed by Daibes.

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“A court-authorized search of the residence of Robert Menendez and Nadine Menendez, a/k/a ‘Nadine Arslanian,’ the defendants, revealed, among other things, approximately two one-kilogram gold bars and nine one-ounce gold bars that had serial numbers indicating they had previously been possessed by Fred Daibes, the defendant,” the indictment states.

In addition, when Daibes reported the robbery to police in 2013, he said 22 gold bars had been taken. Similarly, the September indictment states that Daibes sold 22 gold bars to Wael Hana, another defendant allegedly implicated in the bribery scheme.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., was indicted on bribery charges in September. He has since repeatedly claimed he is innocent of any wrongdoing.  (Getty Images | United States District Court for the Southern District of New York)

Police ultimately arrested and charged four individuals for robbing Daibes in 2013, according to local media reports. Then, in September 2015, the suspects all ped guilty and were ultimately sentenced to several months in prison.

Meanwhile, since the federal bribery indictment was unsealed earlier this year, Menendez has repeatedly asserted his innocence and remained in the Senate.

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“The allegations leveled against me are just that, allegations,” Menendez said Sept. 25. “For anyone who has known me throughout my 50 years of public service, they know I have always fought for what is right. My advocacy has always been grounded. And what I learned from growing up as the son of Cuban refugees, especially my mom, my hero, Evangelina Menendez. Everything I accomplished, I worked for despite the nay sayers and everyone who has underestimated me.

“I firmly believe that when all the facts are presented, not only will I be exonerated, but I still will be New Jersey’s senior senator,” he added.  “The court of public opinion is no substitute for our revered justice system. We cannot set aside the presumption of innocence for political expediency when the harm is irrevocable.”

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