Retired Four-Star Navy Admiral Arrested On Bribery Charges

( – A former Navy admiral has been arrested on bribery charges. Retired Four-Star Admiral Robert Burke and colleagues Yongchul “Charlie” Kim and Meghan Messenger are accused of a plot to award a Navy contract to a company run by Kim and Messenger in exchange for a $500,000-per-year job for Burke. The Admiral allegedly concealed the scheme with “false and misleading statements.”

The alleged ruse began in December 2021 when Burke instructed Navy colleagues to enter a $335,000 contract with tech company Next Jump. In 2022, he started his new job at the same company. Mr. Burke subsequently made statements to the Navy suggesting he only came to know the Next Jump executives and discussed employment opportunities months after they signed the contract.

The unsealed Justice Department indictment further stated that Burke tried again to award a lucrative contract to the company but was unsuccessful. The contracts hired Next Jump to train US personnel in Italy and Spain, and the long-term plan was allegedly to arrange contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

A press release states that Burke, Messenger, and Kim are each charged with bribery and conspiracy to commit bribery, while Burke faces additional counts of performing acts affecting a personal financial interest and concealing material facts from the United States. The offenses carry a potential 30-year jail term.

Admiral Burke oversaw US Naval operations in Europe, Africa, and Russia from 2020 to 2022. During his first formal hearing in Miami, Florida, in May, he did not enter any plea. Prosecuting US Attorney Matthew Graves told the court that the law must make no exceptions for senior military personnel. He said, “Admiral Burke used his public office and his four-star status for his private gain” and must be held accountable.

When he retired in 2022, Admiral Burke was the second-highest-ranking US Navy officer. His new role with Next Jump paid half a million dollars per year and included a potentially lucrative 100,000 stock option grant.

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