4/13 – Fat Leonard


The U.S. Navy is in the midst of its worst corruption scandal in years.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

Fat Leonard is the nickname of Leonard Francis, a Malaysian defense contractor. According to authorities, he bribed senior U.S Navy officers to steer business to his company, earning it millions of dollars.

The scheme started about a decade ago. Fat Leonard bribed officers with money, alcohol, gifts and prostitutes in exotic locations including Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. In return, they provided him with classified information regarding ship activities. This gave his company a competitive advantage over its competitors. In other instances, the officers altered ship schedules to make port visits where Fat Leonard’s company could charge for services and supplies.

So far, more than a dozen officers – including one admiral — and Fat Leonard have pled guilty to a variety of charges. Another nine officers – including a second admiral – were recently indicted.

A third admiral retired last year. Three years after he lost his security clearances over questions of his involvement. He was the head of Naval Intelligence while not cleared to access classified information.

Before Fat Leonard pled guilty but while he was under investigation the Navy awarded his company a new 200-million dollar contract.

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