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Old 08-09-22, 04:24   #1
 
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Popcorn Malaysian Businessman Linked to US Navy Scandal Escapes

Fat Leonard: Malaysian Businessman Linked to US Navy Scandal Escapes

A Malaysian businessman at the heart of the worst scandal to hit the US Navy in modern times has escaped house arrest, the US Marshals Service has said.


BBC News 8 SEP 2022






Leonard Glenn Francis, known as "Fat Leonard", cut his ankle bracelet off before disappearing from his home in San Diego, California. He is now reportedly on the run.






A ship in the US Navy 7th fleet, from which dozens of officers were bribed

His escape comes three weeks before he was due for sentencing after pleading guilty in 2015 to bribing senior US Navy officers.



Francis had been the key figure behind a sprawling multi-million dollar bribery scheme that he operated by way of his Singapore-based company which serviced the US Navy's Pacific fleet.

The US justice department describes it as a colossal fraud that cost the navy tens of millions of dollars.

Francis, a colourful and at times enigmatic figure, used his influence with senior commanders to secure lucrative military contracts often involving the Indo-Pacific based 7th Fleet - the largest of the Navy's forward deployed fleets.



Prosecutors say he overcharged the navy to the tune of $35m (30m) and plied navy officers with cash, gourmet meals, expensive cigars, rare liquor and wild sex parties in upscale hotels to procure the contracts.

Arrested in 2013 he pled guilty in 2015 to offering $500,000 in bribes to US Navy officers in an attempt to funnel official work towards his shipyards.

Dozens of navy officials have been ensnared in the case, with four officers having been found guilty, and 28 others, including contractors and naval officials, having pleaded guilty so far, say US media reports.

Bouts of bad health in recent years, including kidney cancer, saw Francis, now middle-aged, placed under house arrest while acting as a co-operating witness for the prosecution as he awaited sentencing.

On Sunday morning however, police officers arrived at his residence after being notified by the agency monitoring the device that there was a problem with his GPS bracelet.

Supervisory Deputy US Marshal Omar Castillo confirmed to news outlets that Francis had cut off his ankle device and fled from his home.

"Upon arrival they noticed that nobody was home," he told news agency AFP news agency.

Neighbours said they had seen moving trucks going in and out of his home in recent weeks, said Mr Castillo, who added that multiple leads were being investigated.



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