Last week, a former senior Navy official who was in charge of the logistics and transportation functions was reportedly convicted on the charges of bribery as well as lying to the investigators, the Department of Justice reported.
Xavier Fernando Monroy, the former director of operations for the Navy’s Military Sealift Command based in South Korea, was accused of both soliciting as well as accepting bribes to direct Navy contracts to a private logistics firm in exchange for meals, alcohol, money, and prostitutes’ services, per a press release.
In 2013, 64-year-old Monroy; Sung Yol “David” Kim, DK Marine’s owner; and James Driver, a civilian captain who was employed on a Navy cargo vessel named the USNS Charles Drew; conspired to circumvent the US Navy processes to steer some business to DK Marine in collaboration with the Drew’s December 2013 port visit in Chinhae, per Monroy’s complaint.
Court filings mentioned that Kim and Monroy were in contact in 2011. The case was inspected by the Defense and Naval Criminal Investigative Services.
The bribery-related allegations hinge on multiple instances of Monroy forwarding the Navy’s internal emails regarding contract logistics, port visit routines, and even a dredging project to Kim. It is unclear whether the communications were classified. However, the prosecution asserted that emails were strictly “confidential” and that, as an official of the Navy, Monroy wasn’t allowed to share those with Kim.
Kim is a citizen of South Korea. He reportedly informed the investigators that he lent Monroy over $30,000 as “loans.” Peter Brill, who is Monroy’s attorney, pushed back, mentioning that a lot of it was founded on plea deal cooperation from Driver and Kim, contending that the loan was of about $4,000, which Monroy had also paid back in just four days.
Brill has said that there is no evidence other than Kim’s words and nothing documented. He added that the closest they could get was looking at his bank account and stating that the money came from was unidentifiable, so it must be illegal.
According to court documents, Kim and Monroy’s professional relationship had soon turned personal. Besides good wishes on personal emails and vacations to Thailand – which some of the special agents allege that Kim had paid for — “on at least ten occasions during the conspiracy, Monroy and Kim went to ‘room salons,’ together where the prostitutes’ services could be hired,” per his criminal complaint.
Brill further confirmed that Monroy, Kim’s wife, and Kim travelled on a few occasions to Thailand and the Philippines but told Military.com that Monroy denies that Kim paid for these. Monroy refused to solicit sex workers, per the lawyer.
The Navy has recently been involved in bribery scandals and contracting fraud. As Brill said, most notably, the “Fat Leonard” scandal was a multiyear saga wherein authorities accused Leonard Glenn “Fat Leonard” Francis, the CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia, of bribing the Navy’s officials with sex worker services, money, and luxury items in exchange of contracting information and classified material.
Military.com reported on a similar scandal that took place last year in Bahrain. In this case, the contractor defrauded the Navy of almost $50 million.
The Driver’s involvement surfaced in 2013, per court documents. It came to light when Monroy repeatedly shared directions to Kim over the telephone, which Kim conveyed to the Driver via email on how the ship’s captain may be able to circumvent Navy processes to get DK Marine to service the USS Charles Drew.
The Drew was expected to be serviced by yet another firm, identified as “Company 1” in the court documents, which was rewarded with a Navy husbanding contract for South Korea earlier that same year.
On or around 21 December 2013, Kim, a representative of Company 1, and Monroy met the Drew as it arrived in the port-based at Chinhae, the criminal complaint highlighted.
Over some objections of Company 1’s representative, Driver chose to have DK Marine and Kim provide husbanding services for Drew’s visit, with Monroy’s acquiescence.
Brill informed Military.com that Monroy was a Marine Corps veteran with 25 years of service. He retired in 2000 as a master sergeant. Neither Marines nor the Navy could confirm his military service. However, that doesn’t indicate that he did not serve, as records of older veterans are usually maintained in the National Personnel Records Center based in St. Louis, Missouri, making details regarding their services harder to obtain.
On Friday, Monroy was found guilty of lying during a 2019 interview with investigators.
Prosecutors alleged that Monroy made untrue statements by refusing to share a personal relationship with Kim, receiving compensations from Kim, or driving the Navy business to his firm.
Brill questioned what was highlighted in the interviews. He also said that a stroke Monroy suffered back in 2016 may have resulted in memory loss, although he didn’t address specific untrue statements.
Brill wanted to understand the fact that three of Monroy’s previous commanding or executive officers said things about him that one would hardly hear about another individual. The level of honesty, dedication, and integrity to his job and the military were unsurpassed.
Brill mentioned that it is unclear if Monroy will appeal and added that his client is out on bail. He currently lives with his family in NY while awaiting his sentencing in November 2022.
Brill informed Military.com that they were focusing on making the best sentencing arguments, given Monroy’s long service to the country. He added that he hopes that the judge will recognize the sentence appropriately.
In 2018, Driver, Drew’s captain, was indicted for conspiracy and pleaded guilty the following year. He was sentenced to pay a $2,000 fine, per court records. The driver is a US Merchant Marine Academy graduate and a Navy veteran, per the sentencing memorandum.
Kim, who cooperated with investigators, was indicted for bribery and conspiracy. In 2020, he reportedly pleaded guilty to conspiracy, per Monroy’s complaint. His sentencing was rescheduled to next month.
Monroy experiences a maximum sentence of 35 years of imprisonment.
References: Military.com, United News Of India