More US naval officers charged with receiving bribes from Fat Leonard

Defence contractor Leonard Glenn Francis, better known as Fat Leonard. (Picture: The Washington Post)

KUALA LUMPUR: Another three retired US naval officers have been charged over bribery allegations involving a Malaysian, as the worst corruption scandal in US naval history escalates.

One of the officers is also alleged to have taken part in a wild two-day party with prostitutes in Tokyo that cost US$75,000 (RM307,312), arranged by Malaysian Leonard Glenn Francis, a Singapore-based defence contractor better known as “Fat Leonard”.

According to a report in The Washington Post, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has so far filed criminal charges against 32 people who worked for the navy or Glenn Defence Marine Asia, operated by Francis.

The DoJ is also probing 550 people who had contact with Francis – including about 60 admirals – to determine whether they violated military law or ethics rules.

According to the report, a grand jury in San Diego indicted retired Captain David Haas, 50, of Kailua, Hawaii, on charges that he took US$145,000 in bribes from Francis.

Ricarte Icmat David, 61, a retired master chief petty officer who now lives in the Philippines, and Brooks Alonzo Parks, 46, a retired chief petty officer who lives in Naples, Italy, were indicted separately with accepting bribes.

The report said federal investigators had been scrutinising Haas’ conduct since the corruption scandal became public five years ago and had suspended him from military duties after the arrest of Francis.

Francis was arrested in a sting operation in San Diego in September 2013, and pleaded guilty to bribery and corruption charges in 2015.

Haas retired from the navy in September 2016 and now works for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, according to his LinkedIn profile.

“Captain Haas is innocent of the charges and we will defend the case in a court of law,” The Washington Post quoted his lawyer Jeremiah Sullivan III as saying.

According to the indictment, Haas accepted a series of bribes from Francis in 2011 and 2012 when the former was director of maritime operations for the navy’s 7th Fleet, based in Japan.

In exchange, The Washington Post reported, Haas allegedly acted as a secret mole for Francis to help drum up business for his company, Glenn Defence Marine Asia, which held US$250 million in contracts to resupply navy ships and submarines in the Western Pacific.

Prosecutors have alleged that in June 2012, Francis paid more than US$75,000 for Haas and other navy officers to spend an extravagant two days in Tokyo, where they partied at several clubs with prostitutes.

On another night in Tokyo in November 2011, Francis allegedly spent more than US$20,000 for Haas and other officers to dine at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and spend the evening with prostitutes.

The Washington Post report said David was charged with accepting US$40,000 in cash bribes from Francis, as well as prostitutes and other gifts, while Parks was charged with accepting lavish hotel suites, airlines tickets and other gifts from Francis.