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Two Navy officers indicted for Lynx helicopter maintenance scam

All Headlines 16:10 March 14, 2011

SEOUL, March 14 (Yonhap) -- Military prosecutors said Monday they had indicted two Navy logistics officers without detention for falsifying documents in connection with a maintenance scam affecting Lynx helicopters last year.

Investigators launched a probe into two maintenance firms last year while looking into the cause of a Lynx helicopter crash in April. Twelve executives and employees at the firms were jailed in December for swindling the Navy out of over US$1 million in maintenance costs for the choppers and other aircraft over the past five years.

The two officers of the Navy Logistics Command in the southern port city of Busan -- a lieutenant commander and a master chief petty officer -- were accused of manipulating documents on Lynx helicopters to make them look like they had supervised the maintenance work by the two firms between 2005 and 2007, according to military prosecutors.

However, military prosecutors failed to secure enough evidence to prove allegations that the two officers might have pocketed bribes from the two contractors.

"Despite an intense probe into the contractors and bank accounts, we can't confirm the suspicion of bribery," said a military prosecutor.

In addition, military prosecutors recommended commanders to reprimand seven other active-duty officers for neglecting their duties in connection with the maintenance scam.

The 12 executives and employees at the Busan-based contractors were found guilty of pocketing 1.43 billion won ($1.26 million) by providing fake bills for parts that their firms never replaced.

Their firms had been doing maintenance work for the ill-fated Lynx helicopter that crashed last April off the nation's southwest coast, killing three of its four crew members with one still missing. The Navy concluded that pilot error caused the crash and there was no fault in mechanical parts and electronic systems.


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