Retired US admiral accused of bribing Navy contracts

A retired four-star U.S. Navy admiral has been arrested on charges that he agreed to award a government contract to a company in exchange for a future job with that company.

Prosecutors said Admiral Robert Burke, who served as deputy chief of naval operations until 2022, could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted of bribery.

The 62-year-old did not enter a formal plea during his first court appearance in Miami, Florida, on Friday.

Two business executives of the company – identified only as Company A – were also arrested. Each could be jailed for up to 20 years.

“As alleged in the indictment, Admiral Burke used his public office and four-star status for private gain,” US Attorney Matthew M Graves said in a statement on Friday.

He added: “The law makes no exceptions for admirals or CEOs. Those who give and receive bribes must be held accountable. The most urgent thing here is that senior government officials and chief executives senior executives are accused of being involved in corruption”. .

Admiral Burke – who oversaw naval operations in Europe, Russia and Africa from 2020-2022 – was charged with bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery, and committing acts affecting the interests personal financial gain and concealing facts important to the United States.

At the time of his retirement, Admiral Burke was the second highest-ranking officer in the United States Navy.

The Associated Press quoted his lawyer as saying his client would plead not guilty during trial.

The company’s two executives – Yongchul “Charlie” Kim, 50, and Meghan Messenger, 47 – were charged with bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery.

Prosecutors allege that they participated in a scheme in which the company agreed to hire Adm Burke after his retirement in 2022 with an annual salary of $500,000 (£393,000) and a 100,000 rights allowance. choose stocks.

They allege that in return Admiral Burke awarded the company a $355,000 contract to train Navy personnel in 2021 – just two years after the company lost its previous naval training contract.

Prosecutors said Admiral Burke awarded the contract after meeting with Mr Kim and Ms Messenger in Washington DC, despite the fact that they had been ordered by navy officials not to contact him.

Officials from the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and the FBI’s Washington Field Office are continuing to investigate the case, officials added.


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