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US officer keeps plea amid deals

As key players in a massive US Navy bribery scandal accept plea bargains, Cambodian-born Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz is the only one of five officers charged so far to maintain his innocence.

On Friday, in California, Misiewicz pled not guilty to seven counts of bribery.

Just one day earlier, alleged conspiracy ringleader and defence contractor Leonard Glenn Francis pleaded guilty to a decades-long overbilling conspiracy that bilked the US Navy out of millions of dollars.

Francis explicitly named Misiewicz in his plea deal, and provided over half a dozen examples of when the commander knowingly shared classified ship schedules and allowed price gouging in exchange for personal bribes.

Francis’ lavish gifts to “scores” of officials included ceremonial swords, Cuban cigars, luxury travel, prostitutes, concert tickets and suckling pigs.

“It is astounding that Leonard Francis was able to purchase the integrity of Navy officials by offering them meaningless material possessions and the satisfaction of selfish indulgences,” said US Attorney Laura Duffy in a statement.

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