The CEO of a significant Navy contractor has voluntarily returned to the United States to face a criminal charge for his alleged role in a bribery scheme.
Frank Rafaraci, who has served as chief executive of Malta-based ship maintenance company Multinational Logistics Services (MLS) since at least 2005, was indicted in the District of Columbia on Sept. 30. He returned to the United States on Monday after being provisionally arrested in Malta three days prior to his indictment.
Rafaraci is charged with one count of bribery and faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison if convicted.
According to an affidavit filed in September, an unnamed Navy official “accepted and agreed to accept a ‘stream of benefits’ of things of value in return for being corruptly influenced” by Rafaraci and the chairman of MLS’s board of directors. Bribe payments of $20,000 and $13,500 were allegedly made by Rafaraci to the Navy official in 2015 and 2018, respectively.
“From in or around 2013 to in or around 2021, MLS obtained over $100 million in U.S. Navy contracts in Bahrain,” the affidavit noted. The Department of Justice’s press release stated the Navy, U.S. Department of Defense, and other U.S. government civilian agencies have contracted with MLS since 2010, awarding approximately $1.3 billion worth of contracts.
The unnamed Navy official pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery in June and is cooperating with the government’s larger investigation.
The affidavit also alleged MLS, acting through Rafaraci, engaged in conspiracy to commit wire fraud to defraud the Navy through the submitting of falsely inflated invoices from around 2011-18 and that Rafaraci laundered the proceeds of his alleged schemes through shell companies set up in the United Arab Emirates from around 2015-21.
“This defendant is alleged to have engaged in a wide-ranging scheme to defraud the U.S. Navy and bribe public officials for his own gain,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Channing Phillips of the District of Columbia in a statement. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to pursue and hold accountable those that seek to take advantage of our military through corruption and fraud.”