Navy officer, NCIS agent arrested in multimillion-dollar bribery case
(CNN) – A U.S. Navy commander, an NCIS agent and a Singapore-based defense contractor face federal charges in two bribery schemes involving hundreds of millions of dollars in Navy contracts with payoffs that included prostitutes and luxury travel, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in San Diego.
The three men, Navy Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz; Naval Criminal Investigative Service Supervisory Special Agent John Bertrand Beliveau II; and contractor Leonard Glenn Francis, the CEO of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd., were all arrested earlier this week.
According to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office, Misiewicz, 46, used a position as deputy operations officer of the U.S. Seventh Fleet to help schedule visits of U.S. Navy ships to ports where Francis’ company provided services including tugboats, security, transportation, supplies, fuel and waste removal.
“In return, Francis provided Misiewicz with paid travel, luxury hotel stays and prostitution services,” the U.S. attorney’s office said.
The information Misiewicz passed on to Francis, a citizen of Malaysia who lives in Singapore, was “confidential,” meaning its disclosure could cause serious harm to U.S. national security, the U.S. attorney’s office said. It detailed Navy ship movements months in advance, according to the U.S. attorney.
A separate complaint alleges Beliveau, 44, provided Francis with information about an NCIS fraud investigation into his company’s dealings with the Navy.
“In exchange, Francis provided Beliveau with, among other things, paid travel, luxury hotel stays and prostitution services,” the U.S. attorney’s office said.
The three men are charged with conspiring to commit bribery and could face up to five years in prison if convicted.
Francis is being held without bond in San Diego, where he was arrested.
Beliveau was arrested in Virginia and Misiewicz in Colorado, where he was serving with the U.S. Northern Command at Peterson Air Force Base. Both men are expected to be sent to San Diego to face the charges against them.
If true, the allegations against Misiewicz will tarnish what has been an inspiring immigrant success story.
Born in Cambodia and adopted by an American woman serving in the U.S. Army in Phnom Penh, Misiewicz came to the U.S. in 1973, a few years before the Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia. Millions died during the group’s brutal reign in what became known as the “Killing Fields.”
Misiewicz went on to earn his commission from the U.S. Naval Academy and in 2010 was in command of the destroyer USS Mustin when it made a port call in Cambodia.
“It is important for me to be strong and to remember and honor the sacrifices that were made for me,” Misiewicz said at the time, according to a Navy News Service report. “Both Cambodians and Americans in my young life sacrificed life and happiness so I could have a better life.”
“Anything is possible. You can start anywhere, any place, if you’ve got freedom and you have opportunity like we have in the U.S., the sky is the limit,” he said in the report.