Friday, November 22, 2013

Feds: Navy was warned of contractor in bribery case

Malaysian controlled fleet dock services 
across the Pacific

Michael Misiewicz
By Christopher Drew and Danielle Ivory
 The New York Times, November 20, 2013

Leonard Glenn Francis, a wealthy Malaysian contractor at the heart of one of the U.S. Navy's largest bribery scandals in decades, seemed to have stepped right off the set of "Casablanca."

At 6 feet 3 inches and 350 pounds, Mr. Francis hosted dinners at luxury hotels in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong for senior officers who knew him as Fat Leonard, dispensing boxes of Cuban cigars and dropping the names of admirals he knew, senior Navy officers said.

But as his reputation for lavish parties spread, so too did warnings about his  business practices, according to Navy officials and court documents. Emails obtained by criminal investigators show that from 2009 to early 2011, several ship crews and contracting officials filed complaints about his "gold-plated" fees for fuel, port security and other services. In 2010, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service opened investigations into questionable charges in Thailand and Japan by his company, documents show.

Leonard Glenn Francis
Despite those red flags, in June 2011, the Navy awarded Mr. Francis $200 million in contracts, giving him control over providing supplies and dockside services for its fleet across the Pacific.

Now, Mr. Francis is at the center of a widening investigation into an overbilling scheme in which federal prosecutors say he used cash, prostitutes and gifts to bribe Navy officials to help him defraud the service out of tens of millions of dollars. Two Navy commanders and a naval investigative agent have been charged with accepting bribes, while two admirals and a captain are also under investigation. Officials say they expect more service members to be implicated.

Interviews with U.S. officials and documents The New York Times obtained provide the first detailed look at how Mr. Francis and his company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, lowballed rivals to win contracts as the first step in the overcharging scheme. The company submitted winning bids that experts say seemed so low that the Navy should have questioned whether they were realistic.

Once it had locked up contracts, investigators say, the company -- with the assistance of Navy officers -- began pumping out fake invoices to inflate its billings.

Though Glenn Marine's low bids might have seemed enticing, military contracting experts who reviewed those bids for The Times said the Navy should have been wary, and certainly more watchful, of Mr. Francis, particularly given the numerous warnings raised about his business practices over the years.

"The Navy watchdogs were sleeping while a burglar walked out with everything in the house," said University of Baltimore School of Law professor Charles Tiefer, a former member of the federal Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Navy's criminal investigators now say they are examining how Mr. Francis won those contracts. Navy Secretary Ray Mabus has also ordered a review of similar supply contracts in other parts of the world, officials said. The Navy has canceled all of its contracts with Mr. Francis' company and suspended it from future bidding.

The case first received news media attention, focused mainly on the salaciousness of the charges, after the Navy lured Mr. Francis, 49, and an associate to a meeting in San Diego, where they were arrested in September. Mr. Francis was detained on bribery conspiracy charges as federal agents also arrested Cmdr. Michael Misiewicz, who had scheduled port stops for warships in the Pacific, and John B. Beliveau II, a naval investigator accused of warning Mr. Francis about the inquiry. Another officer, Cmdr. Jose Luis Sanchez, who oversaw supply contracts, was arrested this month.

The three Navy officials were charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, accused of accepting Asian trips, the services of prostitutes and other gifts, which varied from "The Lion King" and Lady Gaga tickets to $100,000 in cash.

Cmdr. Misiewicz and Mr. Beliveau have pleaded not guilty, as have Mr. Francis and his associate. Mr. Francis' lawyer, Pat Swan, declined to comment on the case. A hearing is scheduled today in San Diego on Mr. Francis' request for bail.

Cmdr. Sanchez's lawyer, Vincent Ward, said, "We are confident Cmdr. Sanchez isn't the person the government has portrayed him to be, and we look forward to defending him."

The breadth of the case became clearer Nov. 8, when the Navy placed two high-level officials, Vice Adm. Ted N. Branch, the director of naval intelligence, and Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, the director of intelligence operations, on leave while it investigated allegations that they took gifts from Mr. Francis before becoming admirals. The questions about Adm. Branch date to his command of an aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz, from 2004 to 2007, officials said.

A sixth officer, Capt. Daniel Dusek, has been relieved of command of an assault ship because of ties to Mr. Francis, the Navy said. The admirals and Capt. Dusek declined through the Navy to comment.

Mr. Francis' grandfather started the ship-service business in 1946, and his father expanded it. Mr. Francis skipped college to work for his father, and before long, he was earning enough to indulge in a love of fancy cars and jewelry, said San Markan Ganapathy, a Malaysian lawyer.

Mr. Francis spent time in jail in his early 20s on handgun charges, said Mr. Ganapathy, who represented him in the case. But before long, Mr. Francis was running his father's company, supplying Navy ships involved in international military exercises. As the demand for security barriers and patrol boats increased after the 2001 terrorist attacks, he won contracts with the Navy one port at a time, and bought enough equipment to handle most of the Navy's needs.


Anonymous said...

Hold your high standard, soldier! Shame on you !

Anonymous said...

This Khmer scumbags cheap low life should be sent to life in prison without parole.

This cheap low life Khmer descendant deserved to be cursed and look down by all Khmer nationality in any way they can curse.... stupid you!

Anonymous said...

5:06 AM

You don't know the full story behind close door and so let your curse falling onto your and your family. In fact, Hun Dynasty/cpp/vc/chin are the real criminals, not our individual hero like him who meant to be used by those powerful people, in the name of security/training purposes etc. Their very nature of evolving CIA or KGB spy shit, which is also known as the ' mafia cydicate operation' type. In this world, there are two things you either; use or be used. Only right minded kind of people are able to recognised them well. The truth is, the world is at war constandly, but if our leaders are still stupid, they are going to have it all for themselves.

Anonymous said...

តាមសង្កេត ខ្មែរមានបញ្ហា ឲ្យតែតួអង្គណាមួយល្បី គឺចេញក្រឡាថោកគេចមិនរួច។ Controlling yourself is the key.កុំអួត អាណាដូច អាណា ឲ្យតែប៉ះ គ្រឹប សូម្បីតែបក្សសង្គ្រោះជាតិ បើបានឡើងកាន់អំណាច ក៏មិនច្បាស់ជាមិនពុក។ មុំិនខុសពីជំនាន់សាធារណរដ្ឋ ទម្លាក់ស្តេច ថាពុក ដល់ឡើងកាន់អំណាច ពុកផុយដូចតៅហ៊ូស្ងោរ។ ស្តេចជ័យជេដ្ឋាបានស្រីយួនក្មេង អស់ដីកម្ពុជាក្រោម។ ស្តេចផ្សេងទៀត រាស្ត្រផ្សេងទៀត អាណាដូចអាណា ចិត្តវាលោភលន់គ្រប់គ្រងមិនបាន ក្រយៅត្រូវរលាយគេចវមិនរួច ! ខ្មាសអាមេរិកាំង ខំយកកូនខ្មែរទៅចិញ្ចឹម គេដៀលពូជខ្មែរ ជួយមិនបាន ! អាគម្រក់ ! ធ្វើឲ្យអញខ្មាសគេដោយសាវា កុំចេញពីគុក អាមិនកំណើត !

Anonymous said...

This is where a good advice is needed, and the one who has a good one is called the Buddha. We don't need a religion. So what does the Buddha teach? Be vigilant at all times, guard your senses. Do not be negligent!

It took a lot of hard work, effort, and money to get into the Naval Academy and to let one stupidity waste your career? And who cares about that Lady Gaga?

Anonymous said...

Michael (vannak) was adopted by a single lady before the cambodia war started. He married and lives in texas. The investigation has been going on a couple years already. Mr francis gaves vannak beautiful prostitutes and trape him for port business. Now vannak probably lost everthing he earn from his job title. And that include income, retirement , rank, title and may ve will go to jail about five years. He ends up with nothing at the end. Sinful ambition cause him everthing.

Anonymous said...

Vannak, you were the greatest thing that has ever happened for Cambodia, but now our country and our people are totally embarrass by your incomprehensible decision and drag our country along with it. You are the best thing that has to offer to the US Naval Academy, but now is completely wasted away. I told my son to look up to you and it has devastated him terribly. Good luck in prison Vannak. At least it will give you plenty of time to think about what could have been.


Anonymous said...

tricky people will do anything to please, so before one falls for it, do consult with the competent authority.

Anonymous said...

C est une mérite pour Quelqu un a fréquenté le gouvernement minable youn pro, bravo vannack tu es trop intelligent.

Anonymous said...

5:31 AM,

According to you Mr. Vannak, who is involved in corruption, is a hero. Consequently, Mr. Hun Sen and his cronies, from Prime Minister and his cronies to low ranking government workers are heroes since they are all involved in corruption. In today's Cambodia even the heads of the commune owned cars. Hun Sen salary is only $1400 a month, but he and his family's wealth is beyond imagination. So, per you they are all heroes? Com on, give me a break, dude.

Anonymous said...

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គេកំពុងតែធ្វើចលនា ដើម្បីបន្ថយឥទ្ធិពលអន្ទាក់
បោកប្រាស់លុយកាក់ពីអ្នកគាំទ្រឆ្កួតៗ របស់អាយួន សម ស៊ី នឹង​ អាយួនទុក្ខា បន្តិចម្ដងៗ រហូតដល់អាស្វាទាំងពីរហ្នឹង ក្តងាប់ចប់ខានចុយចុយនយោបាយយួន !នឹងអាលក្រុមចលនាអំណាចពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរ

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មានតែ(អញសម រង្ស៊ី)នោះទៀតទៅ!
សូមរួបរួមគ្នាជាមួយ និង
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រលាយរហូត ដោយសារអាចោលម្សៀត
សម រង្ស៊ី + អាកឹម សុខាមកដល់សព្វថ្ងៃ!

Anonymous said...