A bribery scandal involving Singapore based Glenn Defense Marine Asia, with operations in most ASEAN countries, that is hitting the USA’s navy pacific area wide, has used “Elite Thai Prostitutes” as part of a bribery package to top level USA naval officers.
- Washington Post Reports: (Source)
The U.S. Navy is being rocked by a bribery scandal that federal investigators say has reached high into the officer corps and exposed a massive overbilling scheme run by an Asian defense contractor that provided prostitutes and other kickbacks.
Among those arrested on corruption charges are a senior agent for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and a Navy commander who escaped Cambodia’s “killing fields” as a child only to make a triumphant return to the country decades later as the skipper of a U.S. destroyer. The investigation has also ensnared a Navy captain who was relieved of his ship’s command this month in Japan.
The chief executive of the Singapore-based defense contractor, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, and another company official were arrested last month at a San Diego harborside hotel after federal investigators lured them to the United States by arranging a sham meeting with Navy officials, according to court records and people involved in the case.
The unfolding investigation is shaping up as the biggest fraud case in years for the Navy. Federal prosecutors allege that Glenn Defense Marine, which has serviced and supplied Navy ships and submarines at ports around the Pacific for a quarter-century, routinely overbilled for everything from tugboats to fuel to sewage disposal.
Investigators are still assessing the scope of the alleged fraud, but federal court records filed in San Diego cite a handful of episodes that alone exceeded $10 million. Since 2011, Glenn Defense Marine has been awarded Navy contracts worth more than $200 million. The company also services ships from several navies in Asia.
The U.S. military has never been immune from contracting scandals, but it is extremely rare for senior uniformed commanders to face corruption charges.
“Allegations of bribery and kickbacks involving naval officers, contracting personnel and NCIS agents are unheard of,” said retired Adm. Gary Roughead, a former chief of naval operations who is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
Roughead recalled meeting the chief executive of Glenn Defense Marine, Leonard Glenn Francis, nearly a decade ago while serving as commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. He said he was unfamiliar with details of the investigation, but he called the allegations “extremely serious, disconcerting and surprising.”
According to court papers filed by federal prosecutors in San Diego, Francis and others in his company targeted Navy personnel serving in Asia and plied them with prostitutes, cash, luxury hotel rooms, plane tickets and, on one occasion last year, tickets to a Lady Gaga concert in Thailand.
In exchange, Francis sought inside information on ship deployments and pressed at least one high-ranking commander to steer aircraft carriers and other vessels to ports where his firm could easily overcharge the Navy for pierside services, the court documents allege.
Francis’s defense attorney, Edward Patrick Swan Jr., declined to comment on the allegations but said he expects the government will file additional charges.
- Military.com reports: (Source)
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The former captain of the destroyer USS Mustin, a Navy special agent and a Singapore-based defense contractor have been arrested in connection with an alleged bribery scheme to swap classified ship information for luxury travel and prostitutes, U.S. prosecutors said Wednesday.
Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, a captain-select, who commanded Mustin and later served as deputy operations officer aboard the USS Blue Ridge for the Yokosuka-based U.S. 7th Fleet, was arrested Monday in Colorado, where he works at Peterson Air Force Base.
Naval Criminal Investigative Service supervisory agent John Bertrand Beliveau II was arrested in Virginia, and Leonard Glenn Francis, head of Glenn Defense Marine Asia, or GDMA, was arrested in San Diego on Monday, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office in San Diego.
Misiewicz steered the aircraft carriers USS George Washington and USS John C. Stennis, the USS Blue Ridge and other ships to so-called “pearl ports” — international ports with lax oversight — where Francis’ company could overcharge the Navy for millions of dollars in services to moored ships, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Tuesday.
GDMA has been providing support services for more than 25 years, according to the complaint.
The accusations represent a stunning career turn for Misiewicz, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate who received international media attention in 2010 for his personal story as an adopted Cambodian- American who returned to Cambodia at the USS Mustin’s helm.
When ships were headed to Singapore and other ports Francis considered less profitable, Misiewicz attempted to get port visits rescheduled to Francis’ ports of choice, including Sepangar, Malaysia, and Laem Chebang, Thailand.
“Misiewicz had high-level exposure to the operational planning for ships in the Seventh Fleet and for any U.S. Navy ship traveling through [7th Fleet’s] area of responsibility,” the complaint states. “Misiewicz also wielded influence in determining or modifying the schedule of port visits for U.S. Navy vessels.”
U.S. 7th Fleet officials referred all questions to the Justice Department on Wednesday.
When Stennis visited Sepangar in September 2012, Francis’ company billed the Navy $2.7 million for services. Two similar carrier visits to Malaysia in 2011 cost about half that figure, according to Defense Contract Auditing Agency data cited in the complaint.
In one case, according to an affidavit filed by a federal investigator, Misiewicz worked to have the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln sent to the port in Laem Chabang, where during a 2012 visit the Navy was overbilled $500,000 for port services.
Francis also tried to arrange tickets for Misiewicz and other sailors to a Lady Gaga concert in Thailand, and lamented that Misiewicz missed a group of female escorts that Francis referred to as his “Elite Thai Seal Team,” according to an email cited in the complaint.
Misiewicz commanded the USS Mustin from 2009 to 2011, according to a prior Navy statement. He served as 7th fleet deputy operations officer until April 2012, according to the court complaint.
Misiewicz’s next anticipated court date is Sept. 30 in San Diego, assistant U.S. attorney Mark Pletcher told Stars and Stripes on Wednesday. On Friday, a U.S. magistrate will determine whether Francis, a Malaysian national, is considered a flight risk.
Prosecutors have asked that Beliveau be transported to San Diego.
From 2008 to 2012, Beliveau was stationed in Singapore, where he was responsible for meeting Navy ships and ensuring force protection. He served as a personal security adviser to the commander of 7th Fleet in 2005-08.
In June 2010, GDMA submitted claims for $110,000 in dockage fees to the Navy for support related to annual exercises with the Royal Thai Navy — despite a prior agreement between both countries that no fees would be charged. After an NCIS agent opened an investigation into the fees, Beliveau began illegally supplying Francis with sensitive information on the investigation, according to the complaint.
When NCIS began investigating GDMA’s ship support contract in Japan in 2010, Beliveau again communicated with Francis.
Between December 2011 and Aug. 5, Beliveau accessed sensitive networks 13 times to search for information on NCIS investigations into Francis’s contracts, the complaint says.
According to private e-mails cited in the criminal complaint, Francis also paid for Beliveau’s travel to Thailand, and set him up with a prostitute.