Retired Navy Admiral Robert Burke indicted for alleged corruption


Retired four-star Navy Adm. Robert Burke was arrested Friday for accepting bribes in exchange for government contracts with a company that promised him a comfortable job, according to the Justice Department.

Burke, who served as vice chief of naval operations for part of the Trump administration, was the Navy’s second-highest-ranking officer in the months before he participated in the alleged bribery scheme.

“As alleged in the indictment, Admiral Burke used his public office and four-star status for personal gain,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves said in a statement.

“The law makes no exceptions for admirals or CEOs,” he added. “Those who pay and receive bribes must be held accountable. »

Burke faces 30 years in prison if convicted. maritime framework

Burke, 62, is accused of accepting a $500,000 annual salary and 100,000 stock options from his co-conspirators, Yongchul “Charlie” Kim and Meghan Messenger, in exchange for using his position as a Navy admiral to direct a government contract for an entity named in the indictment as “Company A.”

Kim and Messenger – the co-CEOs of “Company A” – allegedly contacted Burke several times between 2019 and 2022 about the status of a government contact, despite being warned by the Navy not to contact the four-star admiral, according to the Justice Department.

Company A had provided training to a small component of the Navy between August 2018 and July 2019 before the company’s contract with the Navy was terminated at the end of 2019.

“Despite instructions from the Navy, Kim and Messenger then allegedly met with Burke in Washington, D.C., in July 2021, in an effort to reestablish Company A’s business relationship with the Navy,” according to the DOJ.

Burke intends to plead not guilty to the charges. Navy Times

It was during this meeting that the trio agreed to engage in the bribery scheme, which would require Burke to use his influence over Navy officers to award a more lucrative contract to Company A before his retirement and accept the pre-arranged position in the company run by Kim. and Messenger.

Kim reportedly estimated the value of the future contract at “three-digit millions.”

Burke is accused of ordering his staff to award a $355,000 contract to Company A – to train personnel under his command in Italy and Spain – and of promoting Company A to the rank of admiral senior officer of the navy before his retirement.

The company ultimately did not land another contract with the Navy.

“To conceal the scheme, Burke allegedly made several false and misleading statements to the Navy, including creating the false impression that Burke had no role in issuing the contract and falsely implying that employment discussions of Company A with Burke had not started until months after the contract was signed. awarded,” the DOJ said.

Burke, Kim and Messenger were each charged with conspiracy to commit bribery and kickbacks.

Burke, 62, is accused of accepting an annual salary of $500,000 and the grant of 100,000 stock options from his co-conspirators. US Department of Defense

Burke is also accused of committing acts affecting personal financial interest and concealing material facts from the United States.

If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

“I think a jury will see through it,” Timothy Parlatore, Burke’s attorney, told the Associated Press.

Parlatore noted that the former admiral would plead not guilty and intended to clear his name at trial.

“There was no link between this contract and his employment,” he added. “The math just doesn’t make sense that he’s giving them this relatively small contract for this type of job offer.”

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