According to the Justice Department, a former high-ranking U.S. admiral was taken into custody on Friday on federal bribery charges. The man is accused of channeling contracts to a company in return for prospective employment while leading Navy operations in Europe.

Robert Burke allegedly directed valuable Navy contracts to the company in 2021 during his tenure as a four-star admiral. In 2022, he was subsequently hired by the company with a starting salary of $500,000 annually. Two executives from New York associated with the company were also detained on Friday for their purported involvement in the bribery plot.

Allegations of Corruption in Navy Operations in Europe

The Justice Department indicated that Burke could face up to 30 years in prison if found guilty. Burke served as the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe and U.S. Naval Forces Africa from 2020 to 2022 and was previously the vice chief of naval operations, making him the second-highest-ranking officer in the Navy, according to his official Navy biography.

Burke’s Tenure and Alleged Misuse of Power

“As alleged in the indictment, Admiral Burke used his public office and his four-star status for his private gain,” U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves stated. “The law does not make exceptions for admirals or CEOs. Those who pay and receive bribes must be held accountable. The urgency is at its greatest when, as here, senior government officials and senior executives are allegedly involved in the corruption.”

Indictment Details: Kim and Messenger’s Role in the Bribery Scheme

Yongchul “Charlie” Kim and Meghan Messenger, two business executives arrested alongside Burke, face potential 20-year sentences.


The indictment identifies the pair as leaders of a company that “provided a workforce training pilot program to a small component of the Navy from August 2018 through July 2019.” Although the indictment and the Justice Department did not disclose the company’s name, publicly accessible information suggests it is Next Jump.