Ex-Navy commander pleads guilty in massive bribery case

A former U.S. Navy commander pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal bribery and conspiracy charges as part of a wide-ranging corruption case that has left more than two dozen people — most of them military personnel — facing serious criminal charges and prison terms.

Troy Amundson, 50, admitted that he schemed with foreign defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis and others to receive illicit perks, including entertainment expenses and the services of prostitutes, in exchange for taking official actions at the behest of GDMA, thereby violating his duties to the Navy and his country.

Francis, operator of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia, pleaded guilty in 2015 to bribery and fraud charges, admitting that he presided over a massive, decade-long conspiracy involving scores of U.S. Navy officials, tens of millions of dollars in fraud and millions of dollars in bribes and gifts ranging from cash, prostitutes and luxury travel to Cuban cigars, Kobe beef and Spanish suckling pigs. He awaits sentencing.

So far, 20 of 29 defendants charged in the case have pleaded guilty.

Amundson, a resident of Ramsey, Minnesota, was responsible from 2005 to 2013 for coordinating the Navy’s joint military exercises with its foreign navy counterparts, according to court documents.

As part of his duties, Amundson was responsible for building and maintaining cooperative relationships with foreign navy partners. Amundson admitted that from September 2012 through October 2013, Francis paid for dinner, drinks, transportation, other entertainment expenses and the services of prostitutes for Amundson and fellow U.S. Navy officers.

In one instance, Amundson wrote to Francis from a private email account, arranging to provide Francis with proprietary internal Navy information: “Handoff?… [M]y [friend], your program is awesome. I am a small dog just trying to get a bone. … (H)owever I am very happy with my small program. I still need five minutes to pass some data when we can meet up. Cannot print.” That night, Francis arranged the services of prostitutes from Mongolia for Amundson.

Having passed confidential, proprietary Navy information to Francis and having taken numerous other actions in favor of GDMA and in violation of his official duties, Amundson was interviewed by federal criminal investigators in October 2013. Amundson admitted that he deleted all of his private email account correspondence with Francis following his interview with law enforcement agents earlier that same day.

“Amundson deliberately, methodically and repeatedly traded his public office for entertainment expenses and the services of prostitutes, and in so doing aligned himself with a foreign defense contractor over his Navy, his colleagues and his country.” U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman said. “We are pressing forward in this investigation until we are certain that all involved have been held accountable.”

Amundson’s sentencing is scheduled for April 27.

CBS 8 | Jan 31 2018