Defence contractor bought US Navy secrets with prostitutes and Lady Gaga tickets, prosecutors say
'Larger-than-life' Malaysian company boss known as Fat Leonard is alleged to have worked with the commander of the Navy to move vessels around 'like chess pieces'
A defence contractor to the US Navy known in military circles as “Fat Leonard” is being investigated over allegations he bribed senior admirals with prostitution services, Lady Gaga concerts and tickets to see The Lion King.
Federal investigators have filed court papers which could see the influential Malaysian Leonard Francis jailed for up to five years, and a San Diego hearing on 8 November is expected to set a date for the trial which will explore allegations of serious national security breaches and corruption.
The documents before the court allege that Navy commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz accepted bribes in exchange for passing on confidential information on routes taken by US Naval vessels.
Mr Francis is the head of the Singapore-based company Glenn Defence Marine Asia Ltd. (GDMA), and according to investigators he worked with Cmdr Misiewicz to move ships “like chess pieces”, diverting them with little notice through ports where oversight was slight.
GDMA would then overcharge the Navy by millions of dollars to provide fuel, food and other “services” and make up costly tariffs set by fake port authorities, the criminal complaint said.
So far the US authorities have arrested Cmdr Misiewicz and Mr Francis, as well as GDMA’s manager for government contracts Alex Wisidagama. All have pleaded not guilty.
They have also detained a senior Naval investigator, John Beliveau II, who faces accusations that he kept Mr Francis abreast of the probe and advised him on how to respond in exchange for perks such as luxury trips and prostitution services.
“It's pretty big when you have one person who can dictate where ships are going to go and being influenced by a contractor,” said retired Rear Admiral Terry McKnight, who has no direct knowledge of the investigation. “A lot of people are saying how could this happen?”
Speaking about Mr Francis, Admiral McKnight said: “He's a larger-than-life figure. You talk to any captain on any ship that has sailed in the Pacific and they will know exactly who he is.”
The court documents go into some detail about the alleged bribes taken by Cmdr Misiewicz. In one example his family are said to have been to see a production of The Lion King in Tokyo with a GDMA employee, and investigators believe he was later offered prostitution services.
Within months of that evening, the Navy commander was forwarding details of movement schedules for the USS George Washington Carrier Strike Group and other ships straight to Mr Francis, the prosecution alleges.
Shortly after that, they say, the GDMA manager wrote to Mr Francis: “We got him!!:)”
Cmdr Misiewicz would refer to Mr Francis as “Big Brother” or “Big Bro” in emails from a personal account, while Mr Francis would call him “Little Brother” or “Little Bro”.
In all, US Attorney Laura Duffy said, the company defrauded the Navy out of $10 million in just one year in Thailand alone.
The federal government has suspended its contracts with Francis. If convicted, the defendants face up to five years in prison for conspiracy to commit bribery.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press
- 1 Double chins could be 'cured' without surgery or dieting using new injection
- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 3 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 5 Thank heavens for Louise Mensch and her foul-mouthed tweets to world leaders
Scientists discover way to unboil an egg – and the results are not as pointless as that sounds
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Greece elections: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras takes aim at 'neo-liberal' Europe as country gears up for prolonged austerity battle
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...