Fugitive in $500K U.S. Navy bribery scheme arrested in Venezuela
Authorities in Venezuela arrested Leonard Francis, a former U.S. Navy contractor who organized one of the largest bribery scandals in military history, in Caracas this week at the request of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Why it matters: Francis, also known as "Fat Leonard," pleaded guilty in 2015 to offering bribes to Navy officials in the form of prostitution services, luxury hotels and meals to benefit his ship servicing company based in Singapore, AP reports.
- Francis, a Malaysian national, doled out more than $500,000 in bribes, and prosecutors said the company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, overcharged the Navy by at least $35 million for services.
- He escaped house arrest in San Diego earlier this month after cutting his ankle monitoring bracelet. Before his escape, he was set to be sentenced in around three weeks for the bribery scheme, according to CNN.
The U.S. Marshals Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding the arrest.
The big picture: Interpol Venezuela Director General Carlos Garate Rondon said on social media that Francis was arrested in the international airport in Caracas attempting to board a flight to Russia.
- Rondon said Francis flew to Venezuela from Mexico and that his extradition procedures have begun.
- He was arrested a day before his scheduled sentencing in a federal court.