‘Fats Leonard,’ Fugitive in Huge Navy Bribery Case, Caught in Venezuela

SAN DIEGO — A Malaysian protection contractor nicknamed “Fats Leonard” who orchestrated one of many largest bribery scandals in U.S. army historical past has been arrested in Venezuela after fleeing earlier than his sentencing, authorities mentioned Wednesday.

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

Interpol Venezuela Director Normal Carlos Garate Rondon mentioned in a press release posted on Instagram that Francis got here to Venezuela from Mexico. Rondon mentioned he was headed to Russia.

The arrest got here on the eve of his scheduled sentencing in a federal court docket in California for a bribery scheme that lasted greater than a decade and concerned dozens of U.S. Navy officers.

There was no rapid phrase on when he is perhaps extradited to the USA.

Francis was beneath dwelling arrest in San Diego when he lower off his GPS ankle bracelet and escaped on Sept. 4. Ten U.S. companies looked for Francis and authorities issued a $40,000 reward for his arrest.

U.S. authorities additionally issued a pink discover, which asks regulation enforcement worldwide to provisionally arrest somebody with the potential of extradition. Malaysia and Singapore each have extradition agreements with the USA.

Francis pleaded responsible in 2015 to providing prostitution companies, luxurious resorts, 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 no less than $35 million for servicing ships, lots of which have been routed to ports he managed within the Pacific.

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

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