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Navy officer, NCIS agent arrested in multimillion-dollar bribery case

By Brad Lendon and Emily Smith, CNN
updated 7:02 PM EDT, Wed September 18, 2013
Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz delivers his welcome speech after the USS Mustin arrives in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, in 2010.
Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz delivers his welcome speech after the USS Mustin arrives in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, in 2010.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Navy commander steered ships to contractor's ports, complaint alleges
  • NCIS agent told contractor of investigation, U.S. attorney says
  • Payoffs included prostitutes, luxury travel, according to U.S. attorney's office

(CNN) -- A U.S. Navy commander, a Naval Criminal Investigative Service 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; NCIS 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 complaint, which was filed in the Southern District of California, states that Beliveau made arrangements to travel to Bangkok, Thailand, through the same travel agent Francis used.

Read the complaint

No evidence was found that Beliveau paid for his hotel or travel, or that he reimbursed Francis for the trip. Francis also arranged for a female escort to entertain Beliveau while there, according to the complaint.

In e-mail correspondence between the two as detailed in the complaint, Francis attached a picture of the escort saying: "Joyce your kinda Babe?" Beliveau responded: "Nice. You bet. Hopefuly I'm her kinda guy, hehe."

Francis allegedly paid for three days of the escort's time, including her airfare, according to the complaint.

In all, the complaint alleges that Francis received the three-day trip to Thailand, escort included; a laptop for a female acquaintance; and went on a three-week, five-country trip through Asia.

In return, Francis allegedly saved 125 NCIS investigative reports to his government computer. The affidavit states the reports were in connection with the NCIS investigation into Glenn Defense Marine Asia -- Francis' company.

According to the complaint, after many of the downloads the CD burner was activated, but it's unclear what, if anything, was burned. The affidavit alleges that Francis burned the documents to a CD so that he could transport them out of the NCIS office. The special agent who wrote the affidavit wrote that there is no "direct proof" that Beliveau gave Francis the downloaded documents.

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.

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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.

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