Cyprus friend Bob Menendez is once again under federal criminal investigation, with the news coming just days after the senator’s plan to block Turkey from getting F-16 jets was undone.
US media reports said Senator Robert Menendez was once again under federal criminal investigation by the US Attorney's Office in Manhattan, but it was unclear what crimes were being suspected in the case.
Menendez’ adviser Michael Soliman on Wednesday said the senator was available to provide any assistance that is requested of him or his office.
"Senator Menendez is aware of an investigation that was reported on today, however he does not know the scope of the investigation," Soliman said.
Menendez had been instrumental at passing legislation that blocked Turkey from getting US weaponry and fighter jets, but recent changes made it easier for Biden to push for F-16 sales to Ankara
Menendez, a fierce critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has visited Nicosia and has been supporting legislation favored by Greece and the Republic of Cyprus.
The senate foreign relations committee chair also had been instrumental at passing legislation that blocked Turkey from getting US weaponry and fighter jets, but recent changes made it easier for US President Joe Biden to push forward with F-16 sales to Ankara, a move favored by NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.
This is not the first time Menendez is the subject of a criminal investigation.
Back in November 2017 federal prosecution for corruption ended in a mistrial after the jury reported it was hopelessly deadlocked.
Menendez was facing charges of conspiracy, bribery, and honest services fraud related to allegedly abusing the power of his office that could carry decades in prison.
Prosecutors at the time said the senator had accepted more than $600,000 in political contributions, a luxurious hotel suite at the Park Hyatt in Paris, and free rides on a private jet from a wealthy ophthalmologist in exchange for political favors.
Menendez maintained the doctor was a longtime friend, with the senator’s attorneys arguing there was no corrupt intent to commit a federal crime and also that no incriminating evidence had been presented by prosecutors that showed any illicit agreement between the two men.