Thursday, September 22, 2022

“Fat Leonard” Francis was captured after flying in South America to avoid conviction in the Navy corruption scandal

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Leonard Glenn Francis, a Malaysian who was a contract worker for the US Navy, was arrested in Venezuela after fleeing there to avoid sentencing in the United States, Interpol authorities said on Wednesday.

22 September (News) — A fugitive and former defense contractor named “Fat Leonard” who was behind one of the biggest bribery scandals in US military history has been arrested in South America, authorities said.

Francis pleaded guilty to related bribery charges in 2015 but was not convicted earlier because he was also a witness and assisted US prosecutors with other defendants and counts.

Authorities said Francis was under house arrest in San Diego earlier this month when he severed a GPS tracking bracelet and escaped.

Interpol official Carlos Garate Rondon said Francis was traveling to Venezuela via Mexico and was trying to leave when he was captured. He now faces extradition to the United States.

Francis admitted to an extensive bribery scandal involving US Navy personnel that was rare in size and scope. For years he gave military personnel money, gifts, and many other forms of bribes in exchange for US cooperation in a variety of activities that earned him large sums of money.

Prosecutors say Francis defrauded the US Navy of at least $35 million.

The investigation into Francis’ activities extended to several overseas ports including Singapore, Tokyo, Bangkok and Manila.

The investigation led to the arrest of scores of Navy officials for corruption. In return, certain naval personnel agreed to pilot ships to ports operated by Francis’s contractors. The arrangement netted Francis millions of dollars.

As part of his plea, Francis admitted to defrauding the US Navy of tens of millions of dollars by overcharging for services such as fuel and sanitation.

Francis, 58, faces up to 25 years in prison.

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