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NCIS agent to plead guilty in Navy bribery scandal, attorney says

The Blue Ridge is one of the ships that prosecutors in a bribery case allege was rerouted to ports where a Singapore businessman was influential.
(U.S. Navy)

SAN DIEGO -- A senior Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent will plead guilty in a bribery scandal involving lucrative contracts to service ships in the Asia-Pacific region, his attorney said Thursday.

Attorney Jan Ronis told reporters that John Bertrand Beliveau II, 44, will plead guilty next week in federal court.

Beliveau is charged with leaking confidential documents to Leonard Glenn Francis, a Singapore-based businessman, about an investigation involving Francis that began in 2010, and then tutoring him on how to avoid giving incriminating statements.

Francis, owner of Glenn Defense Marine Asia, was charged in September with bribing Beliveau and two Navy officers with money, first-class travel arrangements, entertainment tickets and prostitutes in exchange for inside information about the movement of Navy ships.

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Ships were steered toward ports where Francis’ firm had an office, according to the charges. Francis’ firm then submitted bills that were padded or fraught with services that were never rendered, according to the indictments.

The cost to the Navy and American taxpayers ran into the tens of millions of dollars, prosecutors said. The charges do not allege that the NCIS agent or the two officers knew the bills were fraudulent.

Along with Francis and one of his business executives, Navy Cmdrs. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 46, and Jose Luis Sanchez, 41, are also charged.

Both were on the staff of the Japan-based 7th Fleet and privy to inside information.

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Among the ships that were rerouted at Francis’ request were two carriers and the 7th Fleet command ship Blue Ridge, according to prosecutors.

Francis remains in federal prison in downtown San Diego, awaiting trial.

In addition to the criminal charges, two admirals have been put on leave and two other officers were relieved of high-profile positions during the investigation.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has ordered a review of the Navy’s contracting process for “husbanding services” for deployed ships.

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For more than two decades, Francis’ firm supplied water, fuel, food, garbage and waste removal, tugboats, fenders and other items for Navy ships. Amid the scandal, the Navy has cancelled any contracts.

In 2010, Navy officials became suspicious that some of the bills submitted by Francis’ firm from Thailand were padded.

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Twitter: @LATsandiego

tony.perry@latimes.com

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