Friday, 25 October 2013


By DSGC Staff 

According to a US Justice Department release dated Sept 17, three individuals - a commander in the United States Navy, a special agent for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and the CEO of a multinational defense contractor - were charged in criminal complaints unsealed on the same date in connection with two separate bribery schemes.

The complaints allege that Leonard Glenn Francis, the CEO of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd. (GDMA), paid US Navy Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz and NCIS Supervisory Special Agent John Bertrand Beliveau II with luxury travel and prostitutes in exchange for confidential information and other assistance in relation to hundreds of millions of dollars in Navy contracts.

Francis was arrested in San Diego on Sept 16 and made his initial appearance in federal court on Sept 17 before US Magistrate Judge Karen S. Crawford. 

Also on Sept 16, Misiewicz and Beliveau were arrested in Colorado and Virginia, respectively. 

As set forth in the complaints, Francis, a Malaysian national who resides in Singapore, is the chief executive officer and president of Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd. (GDMA), a multi-national corporation with headquarters in Singapore and operating locations in other countries, including Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, India, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia, Philippines, Sri Lanka and the United States. 

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, Colo. 

Before this position, he served as the deputy operations officer for the US Commander, Seventh Fleet aboard the USS Blue Ridge. The Seventh Fleet's area of operations consists of 48 million square miles extending from Japan to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and from Vladivostok, Russia, to Australia. 

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, Va. 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. To communicate with Francis privately, Misiewicz set up a special personal email account with a name that included Francis's initials.

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 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 Singapore also provided law enforcement assistance.


Also under arrested at the same time with Francis is another (believed to be) Malaysian, Glenn Defense Marine's general manager for global government contracts, Alex J. Wisidagama. He was charged with fraud and remains in custody. The complaint, filed by the US attorney’s office, states that Wisidagama and others submitted hundreds of false bids, allegedly from competitors, for non-fixed price items like fuel and trash collection to the US Navy. They also allegedly inflated fuel prices and submitted fraudulent invoices for tariffs from non-existent port authorities so they could overcharge the US Navy.

Another US Navy personnel, Capt Daniel Dusek, skipper of the USS Bonhomme Richard, was fired after it was determined that the investigation has “negatively affected his leadership ability and was a distraction to the command mission”.

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) has also initiated investigation whether the alleged bribery and prostitution scams has had an impact on its own operations, with the RAN having paid the company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, for port services when berthing its warships in Singapore.


Glenn Defense Marine is reckoned to have perhaps the largest private navy in the world, with vessels capable of providing support to the US Navy across as many as eight countries at the same time.

In 2004, an affiliate of the company, Malacca Straits Maritime Security, started offering security escorts through the Malacca Straits. The ship used was a 40-year-old, Panama-registered Glenn Braveheart, formerly RFA Sir Lancelot, then RSS Perseverance, before the company bought it over in 2004.

On board are 150 crew, mostly ex-British Army Gurkhas armed with rifles and handguns, an Eurocopter 355F scout helicopter and six fast craft.

When RSN Perseverance was retired, GDMA bought it for $1.65 million and spent another $3.5 million refitting it. The ship was sold for scrap in 2008.

Since 2011, GDMA has been awarded Navy contracts worth more than $200 million. It has been providing support services to the US Navy for more than 25 years. Glenn Marine Enterprise was first established in Penang, Malaysia in 1946, to provide ship chandler services to vessels making port of calls at the Swettenham Pier.

Glenn Defense Marine has now been excluded from pursuing further contracts with any part of the US federal government. 

Will the investigation uncover more shady dealings? With GDMA being part of the Glenn Marine Group of Companies, which employ a number of former senior ranking Navy personnel from ASEAN countries, the impact might be felt in the highest corridors of power of not only Malaysia, but also of many nations where the company is operating.

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