‘Fats Leonard’, fugitive contractor in US navy’s worst corruption scandal, arrested in Venezuela

‘Fats Leonard’, fugitive contractor in US navy’s worst corruption scandal, arrested in Venezuela

A Malaysian defence contractor nicknamed “Fats Leonard” who orchestrated one of many largest bribery scandals in US navy historical past has been arrested in Venezuela after fleeing earlier than his sentencing, authorities say.

The worldwide manhunt for Leonard Glenn Francis ended together with his arrest by Venezuelan authorities on Tuesday morning on the Caracas airport as he was about to board an airplane for one more nation, the US Marshals Service mentioned on Wednesday.

The arrest got here on the eve of his scheduled sentencing in a federal courtroom in California for a bribery scheme that lasted greater than a decade and concerned dozens of US navy officers.

There was no fast phrase on when he could be extradited to the US.

Francis was below dwelling arrest in San Diego when he minimize off his GPS ankle bracelet and escaped on 4 September. Ten US businesses looked for Francis and authorities issued a $40,000 reward for his arrest.

Leonard Francis, often known as Fats Leonard, allegedly minimize off his GPS ankle monitor and left his dwelling early this month. {Photograph}: AP

US authorities additionally issued a purple discover, which asks legislation enforcement worldwide to provisionally arrest somebody with the potential of extradition. Malaysia and Singapore each have extradition agreements with the US.

Francis pleaded responsible in 2015 to providing prostitution providers, luxurious inns, cigars, connoisseur meals and greater than $500,000 in bribes to navy officers and others to assist his Singapore-based ship servicing firm, Glenn Protection Marine Asia Ltd or GDMA. Prosecutors mentioned the corporate overcharged the Navy by a minimum of $35m for servicing ships, lots of which have been routed to ports he managed within the Pacific.

Officers concerned within the rip-off referred to as themselves the Lion’s King Harem, Brotherhood, Wolfpack as they sought to recruit others to the rip-off, in keeping with prosecutors.

Francis had been allowed to stay in dwelling confinement to obtain medical care whereas he cooperated with the prosecution. Along with his assist, prosecutors secured convictions of 33 of 34 defendants, together with greater than two dozen Navy officers.

4 navy officers have been discovered responsible in relation to the scandal. An additional 29 folks, together with naval officers, contractors and Francis, had pleaded responsible, US media mentioned.

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