Already under investigation for trying to help a contributor who may have been defrauding Medicare, New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez is reportedly facing another federal criminal probe this time focusing on his relationship with two fugitive bankers from Ecuador.
William and Roberto Isaias were sentenced in abstentia for embezzling millions from Filanbanco, a bank they ran that collapsed in Ecuador. The United States has so far refused to hand them over to Ecuador despite an Interpol international arrest warrant and recommendations from officials within the State Department to return the convicted bankers back to Ecuador.
In 2005, U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador Kristie Kenney wrote a cable to the State Department saying the Isaias brothers absconded “with $100 million” and “used their ill-gotten wealth to buy safe passage from Ecuador.”…
“The fact that the Isaias brothers continue to live a life of luxury in the U.S. while their account holders are suffering in Ecuador has been a constant concern between the U.S. And Ecuador since their flight,” said Linda Jewell, a former U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador.
Enter Senator Bob Menendez who has allegedly been advocating on the brothers’ behalf. Menendez is said to have used the power of his office to assist the Isaias brothers writing letters to the State Department and Department of Homeland Security.
While Senator Menendez was writing letters the Isaias family was giving money to his campaign and the Democratic Party.
Federal election records show relatives of the Isaias brothers who are residents donated more than $10,000 to the senator’s 2012 campaign. And records show that the family of Roberto Isaias also donated at least $100,000 to the Democratic party in 2012.
If a connection between the donations and the letters can be established Senator Menendez might once again have to face ethics charges if not criminal charges.
Menendez previously paid $58,000 to a campaign contributor as reimbursement for two round trips he took to the Dominican Republic on the contributor’s private jet. The contributor was Dr. Salomen Melgen whom Menendez had assisted in dealing with allegations of improperly billing Medicare. Melgen had contributed $33,000 to Senator Menendez and traveled with him throughout the Caribbean for “political fundraisiers.”