- BBC News World
Leonard Glenn Francis orchestrated one of the largest fraud scandals in US military history.
But before he could be sentenced for his role in the case, the businessman known as “Fat Leonard” escaped from his California house arrest, cut off his electronic ankle chain and fled the country earlier this month.
Wednesday, aged 57 Recaptured at Simon Bolivar Airport in Miquita, Venezuela When trying to board a plane to Russia.
Interpol issued a blanket warrant for his arrest as US authorities tried to track him down.
According to the agency, Francis entered the South American country from Mexico after a stopover in Cuba.
Now it is scheduled will be handed over to the United States.
Francis was due to be sentenced after pleading guilty to a military contractor fraud scheme that began decades ago.
Investigators say the contractor defrauded the Navy of more than $35 million by buying off officers’ favors with sex parties and lavish gifts.
Who is Fat Leonard?
With his weight of 158 kg, the Malaysian businessman earned the nickname “Fat Leonard” (Leonard the fat).
But he was also known in naval circles as “Leonard the Legend”.
Go to FrancisAbsconder An elaborate bribery scheme operated through his Singapore-based firm that provided services to the US Navy’s Pacific Fleet.
His company, a family business called Glenn Defense Marine Asia Limited or GDMA, It supplied ships with food, water and fuel.
With what some commentators described as “his overwhelmingly jovial personality,” the contractor was soon peddling favors and business across Asia, enriching himself with banquets and lavish gifts with U.S. naval commanders.
“The tools of his trade include Whiskey, Cuban cigars, Spanish suckling pigsGobi calves and what prosecutors have described as a ‘spinning carousel of prostitutes’, designer handbags, tickets to see Lady Gaga, Gucci fashion shows and cash, all to win a refueling boat or contract management across Southeast Asia,” writes Edward Helmore, a reporter for The Guardian.
Thus, the businessman became the main point of contact for US Navy ships in Asian ports for more than two decades. He was often photographed dining and drinking with high-ranking Americans.
He was arrested in 2013 Pleaded guilty in 2015 and admitted he gave more than $500,000. Bribery of naval officers, defense contractors and others who aided his scheme.
He allegedly used his influence to have commanders direct their ships — primarily the Navy’s Seventh Fleet, the largest of the fleets used — to smuggle fake cargo into ports he controlled.
Lawyers say defrauded the Navy of at least $35 million About 60 admirals and 550 officers were tried for bribery.
More than 30 naval officers and contractors have been convicted or sentenced on corruption charges.
His company doesn’t just do business with the US Navy. Further It provided services to the navies of the United Kingdom, France, Mexico, India and the Netherlands.
According to The Guardian, Francis owned 50 ships, including the British warship RFA Sir Lancelot, which he renamed the Glen Braveheart and turned into a party boat where prostitutes welcomed American officials.
Housekeeping and flight
While Francis was in custody, he was hospitalized and treated for kidney cancer and other medical problems, and underwent unspecified procedures, according to court transcripts.
After leaving the hospital, the judge allowed him to stay A condominium in San Diego, California. In 2018 he was ordered to continue receiving medical treatment there, but wear a GPS electronic ankle shackle and have 24-hour guards.
But on September 4, the police came to his house after problems were detected with his electronic shake.
“Come on Realized that no one was home.”U.S. Marshals spokesman Omar Castillo told reporters at the time.
He said neighbors have reported moving trucks coming in and out of the property in recent weeks.
His recapture is the latest chapter in an embarrassing scandal for the U.S. Navy, with the Justice Department describing the case as a massive fraud involving tens of thousands of dollars.
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