A former senior US Navy contracting officer has been arrested for conspiracy to commit bribery.
Announcing the arrest, the US Department of Justice said it is in connection with his alleged role in a scheme to "steer contracts and benefits" to Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a defence contracting firm headquartered in Singapore.
Paul Simpkins, 60, of Haymarket, Virginia, is the latest person to be arrested in connection with a corruption probe involving the US Navy, GDMA and its owner Leonard Glenn Francis. So far, seven people, including Francis and GDMA, have entered guilty pleas as part of the investigation.
Simpkins is alleged to have used his influence within the US Navy to benefit GDMA, including helping GDMA secure lucrative ship husbanding contracts - looking after a vessel in port - to service US Navy vessels in Thailand and the Philippines. He also allegedly interceded on GDMA’s behalf in contract disputes with the US Navy.
The department said the charges contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell of the Justice Department’s criminal division said: “As alleged, Paul Simpkins misused his position as a contracting officer at the US Navy to obtain bribes of cash, air travel, hotel rooms, and prostitutes, and his actions tarnish the reputation earned by the vast majority of US Navy officers and enlisted and civilian personnel.”
Director Andrew Traver of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) said that the GDMA investigation was not over.
“NCIS will follow the evidence wherever it leads, to bring to justice those who were involved in perpetrating this massive fraud on the Department of the Navy and the American taxpayer,” Traver said. “Active leads remain and NCIS will stay on the case until our work is done.”