Fugitive in enormous Navy bribery circumstance caught in Venezuela

SAN DIEGO — A Malaysian defense contractor nicknamed “Fat Leonard” who orchestrated just one of the largest bribery scandals in U.S. armed forces heritage has been arrested in Venezuela after fleeing before his sentencing, authorities said Wednesday.

The worldwide manhunt for Leonard Glenn Francis finished with his arrest by Venezuelan authorities Tuesday morning at the Caracas airport as he was about to board an airplane for a further nation, the U.S. Marshals Service mentioned.

Interpol Venezuela Director Typical Carlos Garate Rondon explained in a statement posted on Instagram that Francis arrived to Venezuela from Mexico. Rondon mentioned he was headed to Russia.

The arrest arrived on the eve of his scheduled sentencing in a federal courtroom in California for a bribery scheme that lasted a lot more than a decade and associated dozens of U.S. Navy officers.

There was no rapid phrase on when he might be extradited to the United States.

Francis was underneath property arrest in San Diego when he reduce off his GPS ankle bracelet and escaped on Sept. 4. 10 U.S. organizations searched for Francis and authorities issued a $40,000 reward for his arrest.

U.S. authorities also issued a red recognize, which asks regulation enforcement throughout the world to provisionally arrest anyone with the chance of extradition. Malaysia and Singapore the two have extradition agreements with the United States.

Francis pleaded guilty in 2015 to featuring prostitution expert services, luxury hotels, cigars, gourmet foods and more than $500,000 in bribes to Navy officials and other folks to support his Singapore-primarily based ship servicing enterprise, Glenn Protection Maritime Asia Ltd. or GDMA. Prosecutors reported the enterprise overcharged the Navy by at least $35 million for servicing ships, a lot of of which ended up routed to ports he managed in the Pacific.

Francis experienced been permitted to stay in property confinement to acquire healthcare treatment even though he cooperated with the prosecution. With his help, prosecutors secured convictions of 33 of 34 defendants, such as a lot more than two dozen Navy officers.

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