$40,000 Bounty on Malaysian Defence Contractor 'Fat Leonard', Convicted in US Navy Bribery Case

The US government is ready to give a $40,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of "Fat Leonard" aka Leonard Francis, a Malaysian defence contractor. He disappeared weeks before he was to be sentenced for one of the largest bribery scandals in the nation's military history.

Francis was found guilty in 2015 for bribing Navy officials with lavish gifts, prostitutes and cash. He allegedly cut off his ankle monitor last week and has not been seen since. Francis, as per the Justice Department, was able to have a ship moved to a port he owned in Malaysis. He was to be sentenced on September 22.

10 US Agencies Want Francis

The US Marshals Service said the former naval contractor was convicted of bribing Navy officers with millions of dollars worth of lavish cigars, prostitutes and cash. He has been on the run since Sunday. The agency showed up at Francis' home after being alerted that his GPS ankle monitor was being tampered with.

Fat Leonard
Fat Leonard aka Leonard Francis is on the run from US Marshals Service. NY Times

The Marshals said that members of the San Diego Fugitive Task Force went to Francis' residence to try to locate him. They entered the residence through an unlocked door. Despite a thorough check of the residence, officers were unable to locate him but found the GPS ankle monitor that had been cut off.

Francis is wanted by 10 US agencies. They have issued a red notice which asks law enforcement worldwide to provisionally arrest someone with the possibility of extradition.

The Navy Scandal

More than 30 naval officers, since 2013, have been charged in connection with this case. A judge ruled the Malaysian contractor to forfeit that $35 million he was convicted of defrauding the US government. Francis, in the plea agreement, conceded that he and his contracting company gave public officials millions of dollars in things of value, including $500,000 in cash, hundreds of thousands of dollars in the services of prostitutes and associated expenses, hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel expenses, including airfare (first or business class), luxurious hotel stays, and spa treatments etc. Hundreds of thousands of dollars was also spent in lavish meals, top-shelf alcohol and wine, entertainment, as well as luxury gifts including designer handbags and leather goods, watches, and fountain pens.

Francis bribed the officers to prod his moles on the Blue Ridge, the US Navy's "floating headquarters in Asia", to send other aircraft carriers and vessels to ports controlled by his Singapore-based company Glenn Defence Marine Asia. He is also alleged of persuading officers to divert other US-based vessels to his ports just so he could overcharge for fuel, supplies and other services. In 2018, Francis was released on medical furlough and placed on house arrest under the supervision of Pretrial Services – a federal agency in the United States.