September 29, 2022

Mastermind of Navy bribery scheme captured in Venezuela after escaping house arrest in San Diego

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Leonard Francis, the former military contractor known as “Fat Leonard” who orchestrated the largest corruption scandal in U.S. Navy history, was requested by the U.S. Marshals Service by authorities in Venezuela on Tuesday morning, according to the agency. But arrested.

Francis is currently being held by authorities in Venezuela and U.S. government officials have begun extradition proceedings with Venezuela, Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Omar Castillo told CNN on Wednesday.

US federal law enforcement had previously filed a so-called “red notice” with the multinational policing organization INTERPOL after Francis escaped earlier this month, Castillo said. A Red Notice is a global request to participating INTERPOL members to temporarily arrest a wanted suspect pending further legal action, such as extradition.

Former contractor Escape from house arrest Having cut off his GPS monitoring ankle bracelet two weeks ago in San Diego, Castillo told CNN at the time.

He escaped just three weeks before he was due to be sentenced.

Francis, whose nickname “Fat Leonard” came from his then-400-pound weight, pleaded guilty in 2015 to bribery and fraud charges.

The investigation into the corruption scandal began in 2013 and has touched Pacific capitals and ports, including Singapore, Tokyo, Bangkok and Manila. During the investigation, several Navy personnel were arrested and accused of taking cash, prostitutes and all-expenses paid ships in exchange for sailing to ports where Francis’s contracting company operated. , providing services like fuel and tugboats.

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