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Aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan on a visit to Phuket in 2009

Phuket Link in Probes into Payoffs, Bribery

Sunday, September 29, 2013
PHUKET: Investigators probing bribery involving hundreds of millions of dollars in US Navy contracts are on Phuket now, Phuketwan has learned.

Allegations of kickbacks that included prostitutes and luxury travel have been made following the arrest earlier this month of three officials with links to Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

The continuing investigations have a Phuket involvement, we have learned. Details of precisely what's being checked out on Phuket have yet to be revealed.

Glenn Marine Services, which organises transport for visiting US sailors, was embroiled in a pay dispute with a Phuket bus group in May that stranded crew from the USS Nimitz and other warships in Patong.

The bus group claimed it hadn't been paid, although the dispute was resolved after crew members were forced for days to take taxis and tuk-tuks instead.

Two weeks ago, in a separate development, three men - Navy Commander 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 arrested.

A spokesperson for the US Embassy in Bangkok told Phuketwan that ''the US government takes allegations of public corruption very seriously, including in the defense sector, because of the value we place on fair and transparent competition in public contracting.''

What's been revealed so far has mostly come from a US Justice Department media release following the arrests.

It's alleged that Misiewicz, 46, used his position as deputy operations officer of the US Seventh Fleet to arrange visits of US Navy ships to ports where Francis's 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 US Attorney's office said.

The information Misiewicz passed on to Francis, a citizen of Malaysia who lives in Singapore, was ''confidential.'' Its disclosure could cause serious harm to US national security, the US Attorney's office said.

It detailed Navy ship movements months in advance, according to the US Attorney. Warships' movements are supposed to be a well-guarded secret until shortly before vessels arrive off Phuket or other ports.

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 US attorney's office said.

While Bangkok is mentioned in the media release, Phuket is not. CNN reported that Francis arranged for a female escort to entertain Beliveau in Bangkok.

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.

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.

CNN reported that Misiewicz was born in Cambodia and adopted by an American woman serving in the US Army in Phnom Penh.

He came to the US in 1973, a few years before the Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia and went on to earn his commission from the US Naval Academy.

Inquiries in Phuket are believed to be continuing.

US Justice Department Release, September 17, 2013

SAN DIEGO, CA: Three individuals - a commander in the United States Navy, a special agentfor the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and the CEO of a multinational defense contractor - were charged in criminal complaints unsealed today in connection with two separate bribery schemes.

The complaints allege that Leonard Glenn Francis, the CEO of Singapore-based Glenn DefenseMarine 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 yesterday evening and made his initial appearance in federal court this afternoon before US Magistrate Judge Karen S. Crawford.

Also yesterday, Misiewicz and Beliveau were arrested in Colorado and Virginia, respectively. The next date in the cases is a hearing set for Friday, September 20, 2013 at 9.30am before US Magistrate Judge William McCurine Jr., in federal court in San Diego, to determine whether Francis should be detained as a flight risk and as a risk to obstruct justice.

Francis will remain in custody without bond pending Friday's hearing. The United States will seek the removal of Misiewicz and Beliveau to San Diego to face the charges.

US Attorney Laura E. Duffy of the Southern District of California and Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department's Criminal Division made the announcement after the complaints were unsealed.

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 U.S. 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.

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Well...Corruptions begets corruption. People will always push the limits until it's no longer tolerated.

Posted by rc on September 29, 2013 10:56

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Phuket is a money laundering whirlpool for Thais and foreigners ....

Posted by Whistle-Blower on September 29, 2013 11:49

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I am shocked, SHOCKED I tell yas that corruption is NOT just a problem in Thailand.

Posted by Arthur on September 29, 2013 17:08

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How stupid to blow a lifetime career for what? If found guilty, he loses his pension for nothing! Sillysilly man!

Posted by Logic on September 29, 2013 20:39

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Thai wives & prostitutes always know when the US ship will arrive faster than anyone in Thailand. How can the stupid & selffish US calls "Confidential" while the husbanding agent providing the support & service to them has to pay something to know its schedule? It's nonsense. Also No one will ruin their careers for only these small return. Sometime we, Asia people, give some entertainment facilities for our business friends. This case will be nothing if it is not US who has currently no budget and want to have some refund back from their suppliers.

Posted by Hyaweh on September 30, 2013 04:43

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Has anyone ever doubted that it would have been different. If so, this one must be extremely naive...
And this only can be the top of the iceberg

Posted by Resident on September 30, 2013 07:33

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Was there no photo of Joyce in the original article?

Posted by geoff on September 30, 2013 07:37

Editor Comment:

You mean, the one of her in the sailor's uniform?
No.

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Heavy duty case. I anticipate that the US Congressional oversight will now compel the USN to take a pass on Phuket. The disbursement of US funds on these stopovers will be cut back.

Posted by Ryan on September 30, 2013 09:35

Editor Comment:

Unless you have some inside information, Ryan, that's pure guesswork. US personnel enjoy Phuket and liberty leave has to be taken somewhere, so a mutiny will have to be prevented.

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Dear Editor, the root cause for the NCIS investigation is the "overclaim" charge for the USN supporting non-line service. They thought the service in Thailand was too expensive especially in Phuket. Many costs as u have already known involving bribe for public management, ex. private taxi, gov. service, police, bus-group politic, were charged back to USN. Right now, many Thai suppliers used to provide the services to USN including fuel + food, received warrants of search regarding the product & service costs, and are investigated by NCIS and Thai royal police. The question is "who dare to service the next trip of USN?" ---> One US-ship arrival to Phuket has already been rejected due to this cause.

Posted by Hyaweh on September 30, 2013 13:25

Editor Comment:

That's all news to us. We'd welcome confirmation of that. But it would not come as a surprise. The question of secret commissions right throughout the tourist industry is becoming a hot issue, on a par with corruption.

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Another problem is no common US people including NCIS officers care or understand. While we (US) don't have money, why should our USN visit Thailand (or other Asia Countries) and spend a lot of money in this secret-commission business? Why not take them back and save money? ---> Thus, it is no use to explain the situation to someone not living in Phuket or Thailand.

Posted by Hyaweh on September 30, 2013 13:51

Editor Comment:

How odd, i would have thought that allowing shore leave in other countries encourages the strengthening of Americas international ties and American values. Why not just keep all Americans at home, Hyaweh, if you are only concerned about your taxes.

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Francis took my two children and hide them ffor me for almost 5 years now. This man has no heart and evil. I need also justice to fight my rights and for my children also for other women he hurt.

Posted by Morena de Jesus on February 16, 2014 14:48


Friday April 25, 2014
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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