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‘Fat Leonard’ US navy bribery fugitive seeks asylum in Venezuela after fleeing house arrest | US News

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The fugitive behind the US navy bribery scandal – nicknamed “Fat Leonard” – has requested asylum in Venezuela following his arrest, a law enforcement official has revealed.

Leonard Glenn Francis, had gone on the run after he escaped his house arrest in San Diego on 4 September.

He was allowed to remain under house arrest while he cooperated with authorities, leading prosecutors to convictions of 33 out of 34 defendants and over two dozen Navy officials.

The Malaysian defence contractor was facing 25 years in prison in a sentencing set for 22 September, but cut off his GPS anklet and left his California home.

He was captured in the South American country a week ago.

Venezuelan authorities arrested Francis at Caracas airport before he could board his flight to Russia, amid a global manhunt with a $40,000 reward for his arrest, officials said.

Now “Fat Leonard” is requesting asylum in the Spanish-speaking country – a request the Venezuelan government have to consider by law.

Venezuela, Malaysia and Singapore all have extradition agreements with America, although the Biden administration does not have an embassy in Venezuela and has imposed sanctions on them.

“Fat Leonard” was first arrested in 2013 when he had been accused of bribing US navy officers to help his Singapore-based ship servicing company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd or GDMA.

Wild sex parties

He had used cash, cigars, expensive food and wild sex parties in luxury hotels in exchange for contracts.

He pleaded guilty to fraud in the two years that followed with his ship-servicing company at the centre of the scheme.

In redirecting military vessels to ports lucrative for his company, Francis had overcharged the US military by more than $35m for services, prosecutors had said.

The US authorities now have 30 days to formally request his extradition.

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