how a businessman bribed half the US navy — Analysis
Leonard Glenn Francis is a Malaysian businessman who infiltrated the best energy on the excessive seas and constructed a billion-dollar empire by offering officers with intercourse, champagne, and safety. And now, he’s prepared to speak.
“Manilla, 2007. The chauffeured Mercedes crawled south for half an hour within the interminable site visitors – the turbid waters of Manilla Bay on the precise. The center-aged males packed contained in the vehicles had been in an exuberant temper … Leonard Glenn Francis was taking out the senior commanders of the US seventh Fleet. These had been essentially the most highly effective navy officers in Asia, and so they managed the actions of round sixty ships and submarines, 150 plane, and 20,000 sailors in an enormous operational space, stretching from Hawaii to India …”
“The lads moved shortly by means of an air-conditioned foyer and thru a curtain on the again. On the opposite aspect, Filipino girls – many simply college students – sat in rows in a form of fish bowl, identifiable not by their names however by the numbers hooked up to their skimpy outfits … At all times the … large boss or Lion King to those navy officers, Leonard dominated the motion …”
“The afterparty was within the $4,000-a-night McArthur Suite on the Manilla Lodge … It was Normal Douglas McArthur’s house and operational command throughout World Warfare II. The lads piled into the Spanish-Mission-style room with wood ceiling beams, marble tiles, an ornate chandelier and closely draped curtains. Leonard … stocked the suite with $10,000 bottles of Dom Perignon … The 2-bedroom suite was full of McArthur memorabilia. Within the suite’s examine, two ornately carved wood chairs – the one objects to outlive the Battle of Manilla, stood in entrance of a desk … One of many males, fairly drunk by now, opened a case on the desk containing a duplicate of McArthur’s well-known corn-cob pipe and grabbed a lady.”
Fats Leonard, as he got here to be recognized, recollects the scene as follows: “Being warriors, they’d been at sea for such a very long time – the aviators, your nukes … they’re, uh, captains of ships. They’ve acquired this internal aspect of them that may be a beast that should come out … We went there and picked up a bunch of karaoke ladies and booked them out and introduced them again. They’re like rockstars. They’re residing their life – residing their desires – issues that they’ll by no means ever, ever once more do of their lifetime. No one would give them that form of occasion that I do … You recognize, they only began stripping and having intercourse proper there … The pipe was used as a dildo on the hooker, making a mockery of Normal McArthur’s memorabilia … they completely desecrated and insulted,” he says, laughing.
“It was a mass orgy … That’s how deep we had been with the navy … All the command – the chain of command – needed to be in your pocket. And that’s what occurred. All people was in my pocket … I had them in my palm and was simply rolling them round.”
As he says within the trailer to the interview, “I had the navy by their balls … I turned my weapons in opposition to them as a result of they betrayed me.”
Fats Leonard was a Malaysian businessman who bribed quite a few officers and others within the US Navy till he was arrested. He paid for prostitutes and orgies for naval officers, rating all the best way as much as admiral. He threw lavish events and $30,000 dinners, despatched presents for the officer’s wives – little issues like Chanel and Gucci purses, Cohiba Cigars – the great stuff that no officer or his spouse ought to must reside with out.
In return, the officers he corrupted made certain their ships docked at ports throughout Asia that Fats Leonard managed. For the reason that Eighties, Leonard made financial institution by provisioning the Navy at extortionate charges for gas, meals, even safety, by offering what he known as a “ring of metal” across the ships – as if the US Navy ought to need assistance defending itself. The ring of metal was nothing however a line of barges tied up across the navy ships to stop an assault just like the one which occurred in 2000 in Yemen’s harbor when two Al-Qaeda operatives rammed a ship filled with explosives into the aspect of the USS Cole, a guided-missile destroyer, killing 17 sailors and injuring one other 37.
2001 turned an excellent yr for Leonard after 9/11 for the “husbanding” monopoly of his provisioning firm known as Glenn Protection Marine Asia. You would possibly say Leonard acquired fats off his contracts with the US authorities from that interval on, residing in a $130-million mansion in Singapore the place he stored 20 vehicles, together with Rolls-Royces and militarized Hummers, all proceeds from his US Navy contracts.
Fats Leonard was a larger-than-life character in additional than simply weight (the place he took the scales as much as 160 kilograms – a whopping 352 kilos on his six-foot-three body). He wore Stars-and-Stripes ties, had Lee Greenwood’s ‘God Bless The USA’ as his ringtone, ate sloppy joes and rooted for US baseball groups, so the individuals he served actually favored him. And he favored the USA as a result of it was excellent to him – with out most individuals in authorities understanding it was being excellent to him. Fats Leonard cherished to contract with the US navy.
However now Fats Leonard is mad. It’s not simply that his money-making empire got here crashing down round his toes in 2013 when he was arrested. He pled responsible in 2015 to all that and remains to be awaiting sentencing underneath home arrest in San Diego. No, Fats Leonard is mad as a result of a number of the individuals in his pocket – the best higher-ups who took his bribes – didn’t get taken down with him, although none of what he did may have occurred with out them. They continue to be at giant whereas the authorized system reveals no obvious curiosity in them, and that made the often jolly Leonard, who sounds drunk with energy in his interviews, mad sufficient to talk out publicly.
Oh certain, the corruption scandal led to varied naval officers being charged, jailed for some time and demoted, and to damaged marriages, the standard falderal that comes with such scandals. However Leonard needs to know, the place is the jail time for the excessive brass that he himself is now going through?
Now that superior kidney most cancers has left him with out a lot to lose, Fats Leonard is crying out publicly. Journalist Tom Wright lately interviewed him, and even Wright admits that, through the first interviews, Leonard’s pure allure conned him into feeling sympathetic towards his story of a tricky childhood and a person who made good by taking good care of the US Navy’s most pressing ‘wants’.
“I did like him at one level,” says Wright, “however then … there was some private cruelties to girls in his life … The misogyny that runs by means of this entire story is surprising … On the very finish of our interplay … I challenged him on a number of these items … That was the final time we talked … and his reactions to it is rather, very telling.”
At one level in that closing episode, Leonard stated to Wright in obvious shock, “I don’t know why you’re so apprehensive about hookers,” and the hooker they had been speaking about was the mom of his youngsters. Wright ties his considerations concerning the misogyny to the sorts of issues that occurred within the Tailhook scandal within the 90s as turning into endemic within the armed forces again then, as a result of girls had been new within the US navy, and a few male troopers apparently didn’t know the way to comport themselves round them as colleagues in struggle.
It’s not a salacious connection for Wright to make as a result of the massive key to Leonard’s success with the Navy was orchestrating orgies. Leonard’s lengthy success story wasn’t simply concerning the nice job he did in offering the ‘ring of metal’. He additionally did an enthusiastic job of working intercourse rings for troopers – a hoop of beds, because it had been. It didn’t matter that he charged exorbitant charges for offering these unlawful providers, as a result of these shopping for had been utilizing US authorities cash, not their very own, and their participation in such providers nearly assured they’d by no means squeal on Leonard.
Leonard acquired a style of his personal remedy of ladies when he was arrested for his crimes. He was stripped, chained, handcuffed, and made to squat.
“Right here you’re handled like an animal as soon as inside,” he complained.
They stripped away the dignity of a person who claims he had loved the ability of steering $20-billion ships to ports of his personal selecting, boasting that he may successfully place the US Navy as a civilian by selecting the place he’d supply specific providers. He was additionally charged with acquiring categorised data from these he corrupted.
Leonard says the actual scandal is that some prime admirals who benefited from his provisioning stay free, a few of them having been allowed to retire honorably, though he had submitted proof that incriminated them.
“I really feel utterly betrayed,” says Leonard. “They requested me to call all these concerned or face 50 years in jail and I spilled the beans … I gave them about 40 names. I advised principally how deep the bribery was within the US Navy. It principally shook the inspiration of the navy … I felt very upset as a result of simply have a look at what I’m going by means of … My complete life has been destroyed. My companies, my household, every little thing is gone, you realize, being hit like a tsunami … [Yet,] One four-star admiral I named was let off scot-free simply because he was appointed by the president and the senate. There isn’t a approach they’re going to embarrass the federal government by indicting him. It could have been a humiliation.”
Alas, the nice instances didn’t final endlessly. Fats Leonard’s empire has collapsed, and he’s palpably indignant as a result of the Epstein-like secrets and techniques that he held on navy brass did him no good. The safety he thought he had wrapped round himself like a hoop of metal failed to carry collectively.
“I had over 2,800 employees working for me in over 30 international locations and every little thing folded. So many harmless individuals misplaced their jobs, many households had been destroyed. This was deliberate monetary wreck introduced upon me.”
Leonard’s crimes and those that joined in them had been reported to the NCIS (Naval Legal Investigative Service) by a Navy spouse who was bodily mistreated, but for years, nothing was completed about something that was reported as a result of Leonard had, by way of his secrets and techniques, basically purchased everybody off whereas individuals had been nonetheless having fun with his providers. In response to Wright, Leonard even managed to deprave one of many prime NCIS officers – ‘corrupt’ often which means, in tales like this, to get somebody to partake in these sexual providers, thereby assuring Leonard’s safety from the highest of the NCIS, lest the officer in query incriminate himself.
As Leonard put it within the preliminary interview, “All people has their wants. And I gave them that sense of confidence, and I additionally offered them what they wished … and so they may belief me … I performed skilled. I performed sexual – no matter you wanted – something.”
It labored like a well-lubricated machine, concealing its personal misdoings… till at some point it didn’t.
By David Haggith is an writer revealed by Putnam and HarperCollins. He’s writer of The Nice Recession Weblog and writes for over 50 financial information web sites. His Twitter web page of financial humor is @EconomicRecess.