Retired US Navy admiral arrested in alleged bribery scheme – NBC New York

A retired four-star admiral who was as soon as the Navy‘s second highest rating officer was arrested Friday on prices that he helped an organization safe a authorities contract for a coaching program in change for a profitable job with the agency.

Robert Burke, who served as vice chief of naval operations, faces federal prices together with bribery and conspiracy for what prosecutors allege was a corrupt scheme that led to the corporate hiring him after his retirement in 2022 with a beginning annual wage of $500,000. He oversaw naval operations in Europe, Russia, and most of Africa.

Additionally charged within the case are Yongchul “Charlie” Kim and Meghan Messenger, who’re co-chief government officers of the corporate. The corporate just isn’t named in courtroom papers, however Kim and Messenger are named because the CEOs on the web site for an organization known as NextJump, which supplies coaching packages.

“The regulation doesn’t make exceptions for admirals or CEOs. Those that pay and obtain bribes have to be held accountable,” mentioned Matthew Graves, the U.S. legal professional for the District of Columbia. “The urgency is at its best when, as right here, senior authorities officers and senior executives are allegedly concerned within the corruption.”

Burke, 62, of Coconut Creek, Florida, made his preliminary look in Miami on Friday however didn’t enter a plea in the course of the listening to, in keeping with protection legal professional Timothy Parlatore. The lawyer mentioned Burke will plead not responsible and intends to clear his title at trial.

“I believe a jury will see by means of this,” Parlatore mentioned.

Burke conditionally retired from the Navy on July 31, 2022. Senior officers will typically conditionally retire if there are administrative issues pending.

Rear Adm. Ryan Perry mentioned the Division of the Navy has absolutely cooperated with the investigation.

“We take this matter very significantly and can proceed to cooperate with the Division of Justice,” Perry mentioned in a press release.

Kim and Messenger’s firm supplied a workforce coaching pilot program to a part of the Navy from August 2018 by means of July 2019. The Navy terminated the pilot program in late 2019 and directed the corporate to not contact Burke.

However the two firm executives organized to fulfill with Burke in Washington, D.C., in July 2021. In the course of the assembly, Kim and Messenger proposed that Burke use his Navy place to steer them a contract in change for future employment on the firm, the indictment alleges.

In December 2021, Burke ordered his workers to award a $355,000 contract to coach personnel underneath Burke’s command in Italy and Spain, in keeping with the indictment. Burke started working on the firm in October 2022.

Parlatore famous that the worth of that contract was smaller than Burke’s beginning wage.

“There was no connection between this contract and his employment.” Parlatore mentioned. “The mathematics simply doesn’t make sense that he would give them this comparatively small contract for that sort of a job provide.”


Related Press author Lolita C, Baldor in Washington contributed to this report.

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