Defense

‘Fat Leonard’ corruption probe expands to 60 admirals: report

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The Navy’s investigation into the so-called Fat Leonard corruption scandal has expanded to include at least 60 admirals, The Washington Post reported.

In all, the conduct of 440 active duty and retired personnel is now under review, according to the Post, which cited a Navy response to its questions.

The “Fat Leonard” scandal, the worst corruption scandal in Navy history, centers around Malaysian contractor Leonard Glenn Francis, who bribed scores of officers with extravagant parties, luxury gifts, prostitutes and more in exchange for classified information to win lucrative contracts for his Glenn Defense Marine Asia company.

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The Justice Department has already filed criminal charges against 28 people, including two admirals. Francis has pleaded guilty to bribing Navy officials and defrauding the government of more than $35 million, and is awaiting sentencing.

The 60 current and retired admirals now under investigation are about twice as many as Navy officials said were under investigation last year, according to the Post.

The Navy’s caseload has grown as the Justice Department has handed it cases that can’t be prosecuted in civilian court but may be offenses in the military justice system, the Post reported.

The Navy has so far charged five people with crimes under military law, according to the Post, which cited charging documents. None of them were admirals.

The Navy has also concluded that 230 people under review were not guilty of misconduct, a Navy official told the Post. Many attended dinners or accepted gifts from Francis, but the Navy found there were extenuating circumstances that excused their actions, according to the Post.

Meanwhile, 40 cases of people violating ethics rules or other regulations have been handled administratively, meaning punishment did not involve criminal charges, the Post added.

In many cases, the military’s statutes of limitations prevented the Navy from taking tougher action, according to the Post. For most felonies, the statute of limitations is five years. The oldest incident reviewed so far was from 1992, while most happened between 2004 and 2010, the Navy official told the Post.

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