A Malaysian defense contractor who had been indicted in the United States for bribing dozens of United States Navy officers over a decade-long period has departed the country before facing trial.
Authorities believe they have located and apprehended “Fat Leonard” in Venezuela, where he had fled before his punishment for orchestrating the greatest bribery scam in US military history.
The US Marshals Service said on Wednesday that Leonard Glenn Francis had been apprehended by Venezuelan police on Tuesday morning at the Caracas airport. Francis had been the subject of an international manhunt.
The suspect was taken into custody on the day before he was to be sentenced in a federal court in California for his role in a bribery conspiracy that spanned more than a decade and involved dozens of officers serving in the United States Navy. The timeline for his possible extradition to the United States was not immediately available.
Francis, who was on home detention in San Diego, severed his GPS ankle band on September 4 and made his getaway. Authorities in the United States offered a $40,000 reward for information leading to the capture of Francis, who was the subject of a search by ten separate agencies.
Pictured here is Leonard Francis, or “Fat Leonard,” at some point in the past.
Fat Leonard, aka Leonard Francis, is suspected to have removed his GPS ankle monitor and fled his residence at an unspecified time earlier this month. Credit: Associated Press for the photograph
The United States has issued a red notice, which is a request to law enforcement agencies around the world to place a person under custody pending extradition proceedings. The United States has extradition treaties with both Malaysia and Singapore.
In 2015, Francis pled guilty to bribing naval officials and others with prostitution services, high-end accommodations, cigars, fine dining, and more than $500,000 on behalf of his Singaporean ship servicing company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd (GDMA). At least $35 million was allegedly invoiced to the Navy for servicing ships that were diverted to ports he controlled in the Pacific, according to the prosecution.
Prosecutors said that in their attempts to attract additional officers into the scheme, the officers implicated referred to themselves variously as the Lion’s King Harem, Brotherhood, and Wolfpack.
Francis was allowed to receive medical care at home while cooperating with prosecutors. 33 of 34 defendants, including almost two dozen Navy officers, were convicted with his help.Four navy officers have been convicted. US media stated 29 others, including military officers, contractors, and Francis, pleaded guilty.