(Singapore US Navy bribes scandal) Malaysian paid for US$20,000 HK dinner

World | 15 Mar 2017 9:10 pm

Officers in a burgeoning US Navy bribery scandal called themselves the Lion King's Harem, the Wolfpack, the Cool Kids and the Brotherhood. They scouted for others who might also accept sex, trips and other lavish perks from a Malaysian defense contractor known as "Fat Leonard'' in exchange for classified information.

The company that Malaysian Leonard Francis operated was based in Singapore and employed several Singaporeans.  

Allegations outlined in an indictment unsealed in San Diego on Tuesday give more details in the 3-year-old scandal that had appeared to be fading before re-emerging even bigger and more sordid than before. 

Nine current and former military officers were charged in the latest indictment, including a recently retired rear admiral who collected foreign intelligence for the Navy's Seventh Fleet. 

It gives an extensive list of bribes to the officers from 2006 to 2012 from Leonard Francis in exchange for classified shipping schedules and other information to help his company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia. In one example, a party with prostitutes at the Manila Hotel's MacArthur Suite during a 2007 port call to the Philippines included sex acts using historic MacArthur memorabilia. 

One meal during a 2006 port visit to Hong Kong cost US$20,435. A dinner during a port call to Singapore that year featured foie gras, oxtail soup, cognac that cost about HK$2,000 a bottle and cigars at US$2,000 a box. 

Prosecutors say Francis, who is nicknamed Fat Leonard for his wide girth, bilked the Navy out of nearly US$35 million, largely by overcharging for his company's services supplying Navy ships in the Pacific with food, water, fuel and other necessities. 

Navy officers provided classified information to Francis that helped him beat competitors and, in some instances, commanders steered ships to ports in the Pacific where his company could charge fake tariffs and fees, prosecutors said.-AP


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