Nine high ranking officers were arrested yesterday in the worst corruption scandal in the history of the U.S. Navy. So far, more than twenty former or current officers have been charged in the so-called ‘Fat Leonard’ scandal, all of them associated with the Tokyo-based Seventh Fleet, and, as we hear from Neal Conan in today’s Pacific News Minute, there are more shoes still to drop.
A statement from acting U.S. Attorney Alana W. Robinson described “A fleecing and betrayal of the United States Navy in epic proportions…a staggering degree of corruption by the most prominent leaders of the Seventh Fleet.”
Among them, now retired Admiral Bruce Loveless, who served as Chief Intelligence Officer for the Seventh Fleet. He and others allegedly steered navy ships to ports serviced by a company run by Leonard Glenn Francis. The Singapore based contractor known as Fat Leonard then gouged the Navy for tens of millions of dollars in overcharges. In exchange, according to the charging documents, Francis provided prostitutes, lavish meals, luxury hotel rooms, $25,000 watches and two thousand dollar bottles of cognac.
The Statement from the Acting U.S. Attorney said the defendants “worked together as a team to trade secrets for sex.” The court documents provide lurid details.
It is extremely rare for Admirals to face criminal charges, but last year, Rear Admiral Robert Gilbeau pleaded guilty in this scandal. According to the Washington Post, three other admirals have been disciplined or censured, and thirty more remain under investigation. Glenn Francis was lured to San Diego from Singapore in a sting operation four years ago and is apparently working with prosecutors while he awaits sentencing for bribery and conspiracy.