Navy investigator pleads guilty in bribery case

McClatchy Washington BureauDecember 17, 2013 

The USS Mustin, shown above with a Seahawk helicopter hovering above its flight deck during a refueling, is one of many Navy ships serviced in Asia and California by a Singapore-based company charged with bribing Navy officers.


— A senior Navy criminal investigator pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy and accepting bribes for leaking sensitive information that allegedly enabled the central figure in a massive corruption investigation to evade detection for nearly two years.

In return, Supervisory Special Agent John Beliveau Jr. of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service allegedly received envelopes stuffed with cash on at least five occasions, along with luxury travel from Virginia to Asia, prostitutes, lavish dinners and night club entertainment, said a plea agreement submitted in U.S. District Court in San Diego.

“For nearly two years, Beliveau deliberately leaked the names of cooperating witnesses, reports of witness interviews and plans for future investigative steps” to Leonard Glenn Francis, chief executive of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia and the central figure in the scandal, said Mythili Raman, acting chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

Beliveau leaked information about criminal investigations into at least $7 million in fraudulent charges for services such as food, fuel and other supplies to Navy ships, the plea agreement said.

More importantly, he handed the Malaysian contractor a huge tool with which to wage a cat-and-mouse game with investigators, court documents show.

In April 2012, Beliveau demanded more money from Francis, complaining, “You give whores more money that you give me,” and warning: “I can be your best friend or worst enemy,” according to court records.

Beliveau, 44, became the fifth person to be charged in what federal prosecutors describe as a widening investigation involving hundreds of millions of dollars in Navy contracts. Besides Francis, two U.S. Navy commanders and an executive of Francis’ firm also face charges, and two Navy admirals reportedly face scrutiny.

The investigation centers on allegations that Glenn Defense Marine, upon which Navy ships relied for port services in Asia, overcharged the Navy on numerous occasions.

The Washington Post, which first reported that Beliveau would plead guilty, said last week that he has agreed to cooperate with investigators in return for leniency, calling the development a major break for investigators.

When U.S. authorities learned of his duplicity, they wired a witness with a listening device to track his activities, the Post reported, prompting Beliveau to search databases to see if the witness was aiding investigators. When Beliveau flew from Singapore for a meeting with Navy brass, he was arrested in Virginia.

In his plea agreement, Beliveau acknowledged that he routinely searched confidential databases for reports on investigations of Francis by his NCIS colleagues and shared them with Francis, including the identities of investigative subjects, information about cooperating witnesses and their testimony and specifics about Glenn Defense Marine’s billings drawing scrutiny. He also advised Francis on how to respond to, stall and thwart multiple criminal investigations over several years.

The two figures tried to hide their activities by using techniques that Beliveau learned from law enforcement training, such as deleting emails, changing email accounts, creating secret email accounts and using Skype chat and calls to communicate, prosecutors said.

Beliveau was posted in Singapore from 2008 through 2012. On numerous occasions during that span, Francis allegedly provided the NCIS agent with prostitutes, lavish dinners, entertainment and alcohol at high-end clubs, with the tab for each outing routinely running into the thousands of dollars, prosecutors said.

“This is an audacious violation of law for a decorated federal agent who valued personal pleasure over loyalty to his colleagues, the U.S. Navy and ultimately his own country,” said Laura Duffy, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California.

Beliveau faces up to five years in prison for the conspiracy plea and up to 15 years in prison on the bribery count.

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