So, this appears to be a very ugly blemish on the reputations of some of the West Coast Naval Offices, specifically those in charge of ships. The guy who bribed the officers has been in the business of supplying Navy vessels with food, fuel, and other supplies for about 25 years; and for now, the charges are from illegal dealings between 2009 and 2013.
My questions: How far back are the investigations really going to go? And MOST importantly, how much of the investigative report and gathered information for the investigation will be released to the public?
Sadly, I can’t help but wonder how many shades of the Tailhook scandal this will end up looking like…just sayin’.
The yearslong investigation that has spanned about a dozen countries is “continuing and is gathering momentum,” U.S. Assistant Attorney Mark Pletcher said, adding that authorities have gathered “terabyte upon terabyte of electronic data.”
In his plea agreement, Francis identified seven Navy officials who accepted bribes, including two unnamed individuals – a contract specialist and lieutenant commander who have not been charged. Francis, known as “Fat Leonard” in military circles, also acknowledged bribing officials with more than $500,000 in cash and a staggering amount of luxury goods worth millions. The goods included spa treatments, top-shelf alcohol, designer handbags, leather goods, designer furniture, watches, fountain pens, ornamental swords and handmade ship models, according to court documents.
The Navy has put more checks in place and says it is better scrutinizing its contracts. But questions remain as to how such a large-scale scheme that overbilled the Navy by as much as $20 million and involved officers who went as far as changing the routes of major military ships could happen.
“It is astounding that Leonard Francis was able to purchase the integrity of Navy officials by offering them meaningless material possessions and the satisfaction of selfish indulgences,” U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy said.