Two high-ranking U.S. Navy officers are under arrest -- along with the head of a Singapore-based defense contractor -- in what some are calling the worst scandal to hit that branch of the armed forces in years.
According to The San Diego Union Tribune, federal prosecutors are accusing Navy Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 46, of tipping off Leonard Glenn Francis, CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd., to the worldwide movement of Navy ships so his company could obtain contracts to service those vessels at port.
Also reportedly arrested was Naval Criminal Investigative Service supervisory Special Agent John Beliveau, 44, who allegedly (and secretly) downloaded reports on his agency’s investigation into Glenn Defense Marine Asia -- and how it won a $125 million contract to service naval ships at ports of call.
According to The Washington Post, a third official – a former Navy ship captain – was relieved of his command as part of the ongoing probe into Glenn Defense Marine Asia and its contacts within the Navy.
The accusation is “extremely serious, disconcerting and surprising.”
- Adm. Gary Roughead
The Post writes that in return for the ill-gotten information, Glenn Defense Marine plied the officers with prostitutes, cash, luxury hotel rooms, plane tickets, and even tickets to a Lady Gaga concert in Thailand.
“Allegations of bribery and kickbacks involving naval officers, contracting personnel and NCIS agents are unheard of,” retired Adm. Gary Roughead told The Post, describing the accusation as “extremely serious, disconcerting and surprising.”
The Post cites court filings in reporting Glenn Defense Marine has serviced Navy ships at Pacific ports of calls for more than a quarter-century.
The paper also writes that authorities now accuse the company of over-billing the Navy for at least part of that period for, “everything from tugboats to fuel to sewage disposal.”
CEO Francis was reportedly arrested last month at a San Diego harborside hotel during a sting operation that coaxed the 58-year-old Malaysian national to the U.S. under the premise of a bogus meeting with Navy officials.
On Sunday, a senior Navy spokesman deflected inquires into the status of the still-unfolding investigation.
"We don't comment on ongoing investigations, except to say that we are committed to supporting the investigation,” the spokesman told Fox News. “We hold our leaders to -- and expect them to uphold -- high standards of conduct and professionalism."