Retired US Navy Admiral Arrested for Alleged Bribery Scheme – NBC Washington DC (44)

Retired US Navy Admiral Arrested for Alleged Bribery Scheme – NBC Washington DC (44)

A retired four-star admiral who was once the Navy’s second-ranking officer was arrested Friday on charges of helping a company secure a government contract for a training program in exchange for a lucrative job at the company.

Robert Burke, who served as deputy chief of naval operations, faces federal charges including bribery and conspiracy for what prosecutors allege was a corrupt scheme that led the company to hire him after his retirement in 2022 with a starting annual salary of $500,000. Dollars. He oversaw naval operations in Europe, Russia and most of Africa.

Also charged in the case are Yongchul “Charlie” Kim and Meghan Messenger, who are co-CEOs of the company. The company is not named in court documents, but Kim and Messenger are listed as CEOs on the website of a company called NextJump, which offers training programs.

“The law makes no exceptions for admirals or CEOs. Those who pay and receive bribes must be held accountable,” said Matthew Graves, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. “The urgency is greater when, as in this case, senior government officials and senior executives are allegedly involved in corruption.”

Burke, 62, of Coconut Creek, Florida, made his initial appearance in Miami on Friday, but did not enter a plea during the hearing, according to defense attorney Timothy Parlatore. The attorney said Burke will plead not guilty and intends to clear his name at trial.

“I think a jury will handle this,” Parlatore said.

Burke conditionally retired from the Navy on July 31, 2022. Senior officers will often conditionally retire if there are outstanding administrative matters.

Rear Adm. Ryan Perry said the Department of the Navy has cooperated fully with the investigation.

“We take this matter very seriously and will continue to cooperate with the Department of Justice,” Perry said in a statement.

Kim and Messenger’s company provided a job training pilot program to a Navy component from August 2018 to July 2019. The Navy ended the pilot program in late 2019 and ordered the company not to contact Burke .

But the two company executives agreed to meet with Burke in Washington, D.C., in July 2021. During the meeting, Kim and Messenger proposed that Burke use his position in the Navy to offer them a contract in exchange for future employment with the company. , the prosecution alleges. .

In December 2021, Burke directed his staff to award a $355,000 contract to train personnel under his command in Italy and Spain, according to the indictment. Burke began working at the company in October 2022.

Parlatore noted that the value of that contract was less than Burke’s starting salary.

“There was no connection between this contract and his employment.” Parlatore said. “The math just doesn’t make sense for me to give them this relatively small contract for that type of job offer.”


Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.