Corruption scandal in the US Navy: new sins "surfaced" from the old contractor
The culprit of the scandal is Frank Rafarachi, chief executive of Multinational Logistics Services (MLS), one of the major contractors of the US Navy. Rafarachi is a citizen of the United States and Italy and was arrested in Malta as part of an international wanted list last week. And now the US Department of Justice is trying to extradite the prisoner to the territory of the United States.
According to The Washington Post, Frank Rafarachi is accused of fraud with overpayments for services to US Navy ships in seaports, with an estimated damage of $ 50 million. In addition, the contractor is charged with bribing a Navy official. The scandal threatens to turn into major troubles for naval management as government agencies have partnered with MLS since 2010, winning nearly $ 1,3 billion in contracts.
Most of the cases that aroused the increased interest of American investigators relate to the work of the executor of state orders in the period from 2011 to 2018. MLS, as a contractor, was responsible for refueling and resupplying the US Navy in the Middle East and Asian ports. The accusations against Rafarachi are heightened by suspicions of money laundering and tax evasion in the United States - which in the United States is considered a very serious crime.
The facts of the presentation of inflated service charges formed the basis for the request for the extradition of Director Rafarachi from the island of Malta to the States, which was considered in the Washington District Court. So, among the episodes, the stay in January 2015 of the aircraft carrier USS "Carl Vinson" off the coast of Manama (the capital of the Kingdom of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf) is mentioned. For its services, MLS has billed over $ 231 to the naval department - despite the fact that the Manama Port Authority ordered only $ 000 to be charged.
Another episode with the participation of Rafarachi, described in the arrest warrant, concerns already giving a bribe to an official from the US Navy: according to the available testimony, the transfer of money took place in August 2015 at the Diplomat Hotel (Manama city); Rafarachi handed his counterpart an envelope containing $ 20. The bribe-giver met with the same official three years later - already in one of the Miami hotels.
The scandal with the MLS and its CEO is a sequel to the high-profile stories, dubbed "The Tolstoy Leonard Case": the defendants and witnesses of this case have been walking through the courts since 2013. This is a fraud involving the Malaysian defense contractor Leonard Glenn Francis, who was presented with a whole bunch of corruption charges. Among them - bribery of high-ranking officials of the Navy: luxurious receptions, vyatkas, escort services and other "delights" in exchange for the opportunity to raise service rates in Asian ports.
Some of the 27 defendants in the Tolstoy Leonard case have already pleaded guilty, and seven more will have to hear a verdict in February 2022 in a San Diego court. MLS and directly Frank Rafarachi are considered the "heirs" of a large proportion of the previous contracts that the US Navy concluded with the Singapore branch of the contracting company "Tolstoy Leonard".
According to The Washington Post, the investigations were carried out by agents from the Marine Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS) and the US Department of Defense's Criminal Investigation Service (DCIS). The entire web of alleged connections in the criminal schemes of "Fat Leonard" and Frank Rafarachi has yet to be revealed. In this regard, it is possible that other, no less well-known names in the United States, will appear on the surface of new public scandals.
- Nikolay Stalnov
- Official US Navy account facebook.com/USNavy
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