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One Officer Pleads Guilty in US Navy Scandal

U.S. navy officer Michael "Vannak Khem" Misiewicz becomes emotional as he embraces his aunt Samrith Sokha, 72, at Cambodian coastal international sea port of Sihanoukville, file photo.

One of five people charged in a US Navy corruption scandal has pled guilty. Senior naval officer John Bertrand Beliveau, pled guilty to charges in connection with bribery on Dec. 16, shedding more light on the high-profile case.

One of his colleagues, Cambodian-born Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, has so far rejected charges against him.

The case involves an exchange of sensitive naval information in exchange for cash and favors, including prostitution, for the benefit of a private contractor in the ports of Southeast Asia, which allegedly bilked the Navy out of millions of dollars through inflated prices and other means.

The US Federal Court in San Diego said Beliveau acknowledged regularly searching through confidential defense databases for reports or investigations of the contractor, Leonard Glenn Francis, head of the Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

Beliveau admitted helping Francis dodge criminal investigations by providing copies of these reports and advice on how to stall them, federal court attorney Laura Duffy said in a statement.

Beliveau faces up to 20 years in prison on charges related to bribery.

“Instead of doing his job, John Beliveau was leaking confidential details of investigations to the target himself,” Duffy said. “This is an audacious violation of law for a decorated federal agent who valued personal pleasure over loyalty to his colleagues, the US Navy and ultimately his own country. His admissions are a reminder that corruption may exist even among those entrusted with protecting our citizens and upholding our laws.”

Beliveau is scheduled for sentencing on March 7, a week after the initial hearing for Misiewicz.

Misiewicz, 46, was born in Kandal province but was adopted after fleeing the Khmer Rouge. As a senior naval officer, he docked for an emotional homecoming in Sihanoukville in 2010, before he was implicated in the scandal. He has pleaded not guilty and is out of custody on bail.