3 Navy rear admirals reprimanded in corruption scandal
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Three Navy rear admirals linked to a massive Asian bribery scandal that cost the government at least $20 million have been reprimanded but will not face criminal charges, the Navy announced Tuesday.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus issued secretarial letters of censure to Michael Miller, Terry Kraft and David Pimpo, a Navy statement said.
The letters are considered career-ending reprimands. The three are seeking retirement and the letters could affect their benefits.
The three showed “poor judgment and a failure of leadership” by improperly accepting gifts from a “prohibited source” while they were deployed on the USS Ronald Reagan in 2006-2007, the Navy said.
One of the men also solicited gifts and two improperly endorsed a commercial business, the Navy said.
The letters were issued “to ensure that individuals are held appropriately accountable when less-than-criminal allegations are substantiated,” the statement said.
A request through the Navy for the men to comment was not answered Tuesday night.
Miller is a special assistant to the superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy. He commanded Carrier Strike Group 7 at the time of the impropriety, the Navy said.
Kraft commanded the Reagan and now commands U.S. naval forces in Japan.
Pimpo was a supply officer on the Reagan and now commands Naval Supply Systems Command Weapons Systems Support.
The case stems from an ongoing federal probe into bribery and fraud involving Navy contracts for port services in southeast Asia.
Leonard Glenn Francis, a Malaysian contractor known as “Fat Leonard” because of his size, pleaded guilty in federal court in San Diego to buying off U.S. military officials and awaits sentencing.
Prosecutors say Francis, CEO of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia, obtained classified information that allowed the firm to overbill the military at least $20 million for port services such as food, fuel and garbage disposal.
Several Navy officers and officials, including a captain and a retired lieutenant commander, also have pleaded guilty to federal charges, while others await trial.
Francis has acknowledged bribing officials with more than $500,000 in cash and luxury goods worth millions. The goods included spa treatments, top-shelf alcohol, designer handbags, furniture, watches, ornamental swords and handmade ship models, according to court documents.
In exchange, Navy officers re-routed ships to ports owned by Francis and helped him boost his business.
A former high-ranking civilian contracting officer for the Navy was arrested last week on a conspiracy charge over allegations that he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars along with travel and the services of prostitutes for getting Navy contracts for GDMA.
The Navy has canceled all contracts with the company.