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Press Release

CEO of Major Defense Contractor Charged with Bribery

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

UPDATE

This press release has been updated to reflect the current charges against Rafaraci.


The chief executive officer (CEO) of Company 1, a multi-national corporation headquartered in Malta and with operations in the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, and the United States was charged with bribery in an indictment returned on September 30, 2019.

According to the indictment, between 2013 and 2021, Rafaraci gave, offered, and promised money to Public Official 1, a Marine Liaison Officer for the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Manama, Bahrain, in exchange for Public Official 1 using his official position to take action benefitting Company 1 as opportunities arose.

“Frank Rafaraci allegedly bribed a Navy official for years,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The Criminal Division remains committed to combating corruption in defense contracting around the world.”

“This defendant is alleged to have engaged in a long-running scheme to bribe a public official for his own gain,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips of the District of Columbia. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to pursue and hold accountable those that seek to take advantage of our military through corruption.”

“The criminal case against Rafaraci is the result of painstaking investigative efforts by the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) agents, and our partner agencies,” said Special Agent in Charge Stanley A. Newell of the DCIS Transnational Operations Field Office. “Let today’s action serve as a sobering reminder to those who seek to enrich themselves at the expense of the U.S. military and American taxpayers. DCIS is resolutely committed to ensuring the integrity of the DoD’s global procurement operations.”

“Rafaraci’s alleged long-running criminal scheme cheated the U.S. taxpayer and wasted tremendously valuable resources,” said Special Agent in Charge Eric Maddox of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Economic Crimes Field Office. “NCIS and our law enforcement partners remain steadfast in our commitment to root out bribery and corruption that threaten to diminish the operational readiness and warfighter superiority of the Navy and Marine Corps.”

If convicted of bribery, Rafaraci faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Rafaraci was provisionally arrested in Malta on Sept. 27, 2021, at the request of the United States. Proceedings in Malta concluded upon his voluntary return to the United States on Oct. 18.

DCIS, NCIS, IRS-CI, and Army Criminal Investigative Division are investigating the case. Valuable assistance was provided by the FBI, U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service, the Malta Police Force, Malta Office of the Attorney General, Essex Police, and U.K. International Crime Cooperation Center.

Principal Assistant Chief Justin Weitz, Trial Attorney Michael P. McCarthy of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Amanda R. Vaughn are prosecuting the case. Former Deputy Chief Brian R. Young of the Fraud Section participated in the investigation. The Justice Department’s Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance.

Anyone with information relating to fraud or corruption should contact the NCIS anonymous tip line at www.ncis.navy.mil or the DoD hotline at www.dodig.mil/hotline, or call (800) 424-9098.

An indictment is merely an allegation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated June 21, 2023

Press Release Number: 21-1021