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Navy Contractor Who Scammed US Navy for $10 Million in Thailand Apprehended

Leonard Glenn Francis, who pleaded guilty in 2015 to bribing Navy officials in a $35 million scandal, cut off his GPS monitor and fled weeks before he was to have been sentenced.

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After evading house arrest in California, a military contractor at the centre of a major US Navy corruption scandal in Thailand and elsewhere in Asia has been apprehended in Venezuela.

Leonard Glenn Francis, aka “Fat Leonard,” was reportedly caught by Interpol in Venezuela after making his way there via Mexico and Cuba. An Interpol spokesman reported that he was allegedly heading for Russia.

He was detained at Simón Bolvar International Airport and will remain in Venezuelan custody while US marshals and other federal authorities arrange the details of his extradition back to the United States.

According to Carlos Garate Rondon, director general of Interpol Venezuela, Francis entered the country from Mexico with a stopover in Cuba. He stated that his final destination was Russia.

Francis removed his GPS tracker on September 4 at his San Diego residence, the US Marshals Service confirmed, weeks before he was scheduled to be sentenced.

Military Contractor Who Scammed US Navy

The US-Malaysian businessman gained notoriety by overbilling the Pentagon millions of dollars by bribing US officers with prostitutes, plane tickets, and other perks.

Misdeeds included charging the US Navy $10 million more than necessary for maintenance services at the Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri.

A Thai woman, Ms. Pornpun Settaphakorn, is one of the defendants facing charges in a US court for her alleged role in the scam. She has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

The United States Marshals Service has confirmed Francis’s arrest in Venezuela and has sought extradition.

Navy contractor

In 2013, Francis was first taken into custody. He admitted offering bribes totalling $500,000 to Navy officers in exchange for inside information and directing military vessels to ports where he knew he could inflate bills for his Singaporean ship servicing company.

However, since his arrest, Francis has spent the last nine years helping American prosecutors bring charges against dozens of Navy officers involved in the scandal.

Prosecutors allege that Francis and his company overcharged the US military by more than $35 million.

Source:  NBC News

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