An overflowing and spirited personality leads a Malaysian businessman known as “Fat Leonard” to win lucrative contracts across Asia and become the rich offer team everything happened and lavish gifts to US Navy officers.
Leonard Francis, “Fat Leonard,” has admitted to being the intellectual author of one of the biggest corruption scandals in US military history. Now that he staged a daring daybreak from a home in a San Diego suburb where he was under house arrest, many are wondering if he used his charisma to get away.
What is known about the case:
Who is ‘Fat Leonard’ and why was he convicted?
Francis ran a freight forwarding service for his family called Glen Defense Marine Asia Limited, or GDMA, based in Singapore, which supplied ships with water, food and fuel. An enigmatic figure, Francis was the primary liaison for US Navy ships in Asian ports for more than two decades. There are photos of him eating and partying with high-ranking naval officers, giving him expensive cigars, concert tickets and taking him from Thailand to lavish parties in luxury hotels in the Philippines. In return, and for money, the authorities turned a blind eye when they charged more for their services. When officers found out what was happening, they made him stand up. They took him to San Diego with the stories and arrested him in a hotel in 2013. Two years later he admitted that he had offered bribes of more than $500,000 to Navy officers, contractors and others who helped him. He used his influence to persuade commanders to lead his ships to controlled ports, to hide his charges for services he had not rendered. Prosecutors say he defrauded the Navy of at least $35 million.
Why has he not been punished yet?
Francis has been sentenced to 25 years in prison, but his sentence has been repeatedly postponed because he was a key witness in the trial against naval officers. He reached an agreement with prosecutors in which he promised to cooperate with the investigation and with his help convicted 33 of the 34 defendants, including more than two dozen naval officers.
According to legal documents, while in custody, he was hospitalized and treated for kidney cancer and other health problems. After being discharged, a judge ordered in 2018 that she continue her treatment from a condominium. They had to wear GPS monitors and were watched by security guards round the clock.
What is known about his house arrest?
According to legal documents, Francis had a problem with the owner of the condo and had to leave. But he didn’t go back to jail. His lawyer convinced the judge in his case to allow him to stay out to get medical help. You moved to another rental property. He was under house arrest for about five years. District Judge Janice Sammartino repeatedly objected to the arrangement in which Francis paid the security firm that had been tracking him. It is not clear how many people were appointed to supervise them or where they were posted. The arrangement was modified several times based on Francis’ health.
In the hearing held in December 2020, the judge came to know that on one occasion the house was not guarded for three hours as the guards had gone to eat.
Did anyone get uncomfortable before they fled?
Yes, Sammartino denied Francis’ attorney’s claim that he was too ill to be treated by Bureau of Prison staff. She was also surprised to learn that Francis’ three children and their mother were living on the same property. His lawyer asked the judge to allow him to take his children to school and visit the supermarket from time to time. However, the judge said that as per the court documents, a lot of concessions have already been granted. Doubts were also raised whether his health really justified his stay out of prison. In late 2020, the judge received a letter from a San Diego surgeon who had treated Francis and who said he had already recovered. But the lawyer for “Fat Leonard” said there were other health problems and the Malaysian got the right to stay out until May 23, 2022. No other document was issued on the issue of accommodation.
how did he run?
Neighbors saw the U-hall cargo truck coming and going since Friday. Two days later, on Sunday, Francis removed the monitor using metal shears and disappeared. The police were called six hours later.
What do you do to find it?
Ten security agencies are looking for Francis and his escape has been reported to Mexican authorities, as his home is only a 40-minute drive from the Mexican border.