Another former Navy official arrested in 'Fat Leonard' biribery case
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A Singaporean woman is the latest former U.S. Navy official to be arrested in connection with a bribery scandal that traded classified ship information to a contractor in exchange for cash, travel and other perks.
Gursharan Kaur Sharon Rachael, 55, a former Navy lead contract specialist, was charged in Singaporean court Thursday with seven counts of taking bribes worth $92,000 from Glenn Defense Marine Asia, which supplied portside services to Navy ships for decades.
Rachael was also charged with two counts of money laundering, according to a statement from Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau.
Rachael supplied ship information from 2006 to 2009 to GDMA president Leonard Glenn “Fat Leonard” Francis, according to Singapore’s Straits Times. She first received mostly paid travel, including a $15,000 weeklong resort stay in Bali, Indonesia, the newspaper reported.
Rachael later received about $71,000 in cash from Francis and used the money to buy an insurance policy and a condominium, Singaporean officials said.
Francis also bribed several active-duty enlisted sailors, officers and civilians in exchange for ship schedules and plans, according to U.S. court documents.
Several of those involved — including a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent who admitted to being on Francis’ payroll — have been arrested and convicted of taking cash, luxury hotel accommodations and, in some cases, prostitutes.
In February, three admirals received letters of censure from the Navy, leading two to quickly retire.
The letters said the admirals received heavily discounted gifts that “would have led a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts to believe that you used your public office for private gain.”
Francis used the information to steer Navy ships toward “pearl ports,” as GDMA employees referred to them, according to court documents. GDMA was able to vastly overcharge ships for fuel, electricity, cleaning and other services as their preferred ports.
Francis pleaded guilty in January to charges of bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery and fraud charges in a plea deal with U.S. federal prosecutors.
Prosecutors say Francis, with help from his naval contacts, bilked the U.S. government out of more than $20 million.