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Boss of US Navy contractor Glenn Marine arrested

PHUKET: The CEO of Glenn Defense Marina Asia (GDMA), which has for several years provided “husbanding” services for US warships visiting Phuket and elsewhere in the region, has been arrested in the US for corruption.


Alasdair Forbes

Monday 30 September 2013, 05:26PM


Crew of the carrier USS Stennis, on its visit to Phuket in May, disembark from a GDMA transport boat.
Crew of the carrier USS Stennis, on its visit to Phuket in May, disembark from a GDMA transport boat.

Also arrested in connection with Leonard Glenn Francis, boss of Singapore-based GDMA, are a senior US Navy officer and a special agent for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS).

GDMA’s website lists 33 husbanding jobs done for the US Navy this year as far apart as Russia and Australia, and including visits to Phuket by the nuclear-powered carrier USS Nimitz, the guided missile cruiser USS Princeton and the destroyer USS Higgins.

But in a press release issued recently, the Office of the US Attorney in San Diego accuses Francis of bribing the other two to provide him with information that would give his company an inside track of “hundreds of millions of dollars in defense contracts”, and to fend off investigations into his dealings with US Navy.

In exchange for the information, the US Attorney alleges, Francis provided US Navy Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz and NCIS Supervisory Special Agent John Bertrand Beliveau II with luxury travel and prostitutes.

While Misiewicz provided Francis with intelligence on ship movements, months in advance, Beliveau provided information and advice on an NCIS investigation into Glenn Marine’s activities.

Francis was arrested in San Diego on September 16 and has been in custody since. Misiewicz and Beliveau were arrested in Colorado and Virginia, respectively, on the same day, and US justice officers are working on having them delivered to San Diego to face trial with Francis.

The statement from the US Attorney’s office, issued the day after the arrests, explained, “GDMA provides hundreds of millions of dollars in husbanding services to the US Navy, which involves the coordinating, scheduling and procurement of items and services required by ships and submarines when they arrive at port.

“These services include, for example, providing tugboats and fenders; paying port authority and customs fees; furnishing security and transportation; supplying provisions, fuel and water; and removing trash and collecting liquid waste.

“Misiewicz, 46, is a commander and captain-select in the US Navy, assigned to US Northern Command located at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“Before this position, he served as the deputy operations officer for the US Commander, Seventh Fleet aboard the USS Blue Ridge.

“As the deputy operations officer, Misiewicz had high-level exposure to the operational planning for ships in the Seventh Fleet and for any US Navy ship traveling through the Seventh Fleet’s area of responsibility. He also held influence in determining or modifying the schedule of port visits for US Navy vessels.

“Beliveau, 44, is a supervisory special agent for NCIS at Quantico, Virginia. In that position, he has had access to the internal NCIS database containing investigative reporting, including reports into an investigation by NCIS into possible fraud committed by GDMA in billing the US Navy under its contracts.

“According to one of the criminal complaints, Misiewicz and Francis allegedly engaged in a conspiracy to commit bribery. As part of the conspiracy, Misiewicz sent to Francis information that the Navy had classified as ‘Confidential’, including schedules reflecting the movements of Navy ships months in advance. Misiewicz also operated as an advocate within the Navy for GDMA’s interests, urging decisions about port visits and contractor usage that were designed to benefit GDMA.

“In return, Francis provided Misiewicz with paid travel, luxury hotel stays and prostitution services.

“As set forth in another complaint, Beliveau and Francis allegedly entered into a separate bribery conspiracy. As part of that conspiracy, Beliveau provided Francis with confidential information about the NCIS criminal fraud investigation into GDMA by secretly downloading reports from the NCIS database and conveying the information to Francis.

“Beliveau also allegedly provided Francis [with] guidance as to how to deal with NCIS inquiries. In exchange, Francis provided Beliveau with, among other things, paid travel, luxury hotel stays and prostitution services.

“Each defendant was charged with conspiring to commit bribery, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. A criminal complaint is merely an allegation, and every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

“This ongoing investigation is being conducted by NCIS, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Defense Contract Audit Agency, and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in this matter, and the Royal Thai Police and the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau of Singapore also provided law enforcement assistance.”

Misiewicz’s arrest has shocked many in the US Navy, for which he became a poster boy in 2010. Born Cambodian, he was spirited away to the US by Maryna Lee Misiewicz, a US Army administrative assistant with the defense attaché’s office at the US Embassy before the Khmer Rouge seized power.

He grew up in the US, entered the US Navy and climbed swiftly up the ranks.

Three years ago, in command of the guided missile destroyer USS Mustin, and in a visit much ballyhooed by the US Navy, he sailed into port in Cambodia and was reunited with relatives he had not seen in almost 40 years.

This is the man now accused of revealing Navy secrets to GDMA in return for luxury vacations and prostitutes.

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