Navy Bribery Scandal Leads To Third Officer Arrest

A Navy bribery scandal that entailed servicemen giving foreign contractors classified information has resulted in charging a third high-ranking Navy officer. What did these officers get in exchange for handing over the nation’s military secrets? Bribes ranged from $100,000 in cash, to prostitutes, to even Lady Gaga tickets.

According to Yahoo! News, Navy Commander Jose Luis Sanchez became the third officer charged in the ongoing Navy bribery scandal on Wednesday in Tampa, Florida. The 41-year-old Navy officer is accused of handing over classified information to Singapore-based defense contractor, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, or GDMA. GDMA currently has multi-million dollar contracts from the US Navy for port services across Asia.

Navy Commander Sanchez’s arrest joins the earlier arrests of Navy Commander Michael Misiewicz and NCIS Supervisory Special Agent John Beliveau II. Misiewicz is described as a promising Navy officer who was quickly rising through the ranks, having become Captain-Select before his arrest.

The continuing Navy bribery scandal has revealed these officers to have similarly fed confidential Navy documents and details to GDMA CEO Leonard Glenn Francis, reports NBC News. Francis is also known by his nickname, “Fat Leonard,” within military circles.

Investigators say Francis bribed the three officers in similar ways, throwing cash, hookers, and luxury goods their way. In return, Francis would gain access to information barred to other military contractors and have Navy business steered toward GDMA. Belivieau, however, is accused of tipping Francis off to a investigation into his company over allegations of overcharging for fuel and food used by the Navy.

Francis has been heavily implicated in the Navy bribery scandal and was arrested in San Diego in September, according to NBC News. As Rear Admiral Terry McKnight explains, Francis is a “larger-than-life figure. You talk to any captain on any ship that has sailed in the Pacific and they will know exactly who he is.”

Navy officials say evidence gathered from email exchanges between Sanchez and Francis exposed their shady relationship. In one example, emails and social media messages from Sanchez to Francis discussed a trip the Navy officer planned to take with his buddies to Kuala Lumpur in 2009. At one point Sanchez asked for pictures of the prostitutes Francis would be providing, for “motivation.” After obliging, Sanchez wrote back: “Yummy … daddy like.”

The US Department of Justice says the investigation is still continuing. As more information rises to the surface, prosecutors say they intend to make as many arrests as necessary to flesh out all parties involved in the Navy bribery scandal.

[Image via Official U.S. Navy Imagery on photopin cc]