Former US Navy Four-Star Admiral Arrested in Bribery Scheme


Retired Navy Admiral Robert Burke, who served as the vice chief of naval operations, was arrested on charges related to a bribery scheme involving lucrative government contracts. The Department of Justice (DOJ) unveiled a five-count indictment against Burke, 62, and two business executives, Yongchul “Charlie” Kim and Meghan Messenger, both from New York.

The charges include bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery, with Burke also facing additional charges for performing acts of personal financial interest and concealing material facts.

The indictment alleges that between 2020 and 2022, while Burke was serving as the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, he agreed to use his influence to secure a Navy contract for Company A, the firm led by Kim and Messenger, in exchange for future employment.

Despite the Navy terminating its contract with Company A in 2019 and directing the company not to contact Burke, the executives allegedly met with Burke in Washington, D.C., in July 2021 to reestablish their business relationship.

According to the DOJ, Burke ordered his staff to award a $355,000 contract to Company A for training naval personnel in Italy and Spain in December 2021.

Following his retirement, Burke began working for Company A in October 2022, earning a starting salary of $500,000 per year and 100,000 stock options.

Burke's attorney, Timothy Parlatore, stated that Burke vigorously contests the charges and expects to be found not guilty, arguing that the DOJ's timeline is inaccurate and that there was no quid pro quo involved.

The case highlights significant concerns about corruption at high levels of the military, with the DOJ emphasizing the importance of holding both public officials and corporate executives accountable for their actions .


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