Convict at center of the US Navy bribery ring now claims he secretly recorded naval officers with sex workers he paid for

·3 min read
The US Navy has been rocked by a bribery scandal that began in 7th Fleet.
The US Navy has been rocked by a bribery scandal that began in 7th Fleet.MC3 Jose Madrigal/US Navy
  • In a new podcast, "Fat Leonard" says he secretly video-taped Navy officers with sex workers he paid for.

  • Leonard Glenn Francis pleaded guilty in 2015 to providing Navy personnel with over $500,000 in bribes, luxury travel, entertainment, and the service of sex workers.

  • The podcast marks the first time Francis has spoken publicly and outside of a courtroom about the scandal that rocked the US Navy.

Leonard Glenn Francis, the former Malaysian businessman at the heart of the bribery and corruption scandal that rocked the U.S. Navy, now claims he secretly videotaped Navy officers with sex workers he paid for.

"Fat Leonard," as he was known to military contacts across Southeast Asia, spoke publicly about the scandal for the first time in a new podcast of the same name. In the nine-part podcast, which aired its final episode last week, Francis offers new revelations on the scandal which led to the indictment of dozens of military officials.

In 2015, Francis pleaded guilty to providing members of the Navy with over $500,000 in bribes, luxury travel, entertainment and the service of sex workers but has yet to be sentenced. While doling out these bribes, Francis' company, Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia, or GDMA, was given port servicing contracts for the US Navy across Southeast Asia.

He is set to appear as a star witness for the prosecution in the criminal trial of six naval officers expected to begin in early 2022.

Last week, a federal judge in San Diego authorized the defense team in that trial to subpoena Audiation, the podcast's New York-based production company, for all the recordings from "Fat Leonard," according to a report from the San Diego Union Tribune.

For those who have closely followed the "Fat Leonard" scandal, the podcast largely repeats previously unearthed details about the case. But in one episode, Francis claims he kept secretly recorded videotapes of sex between Navy officers and sex workers he'd paid for.

"I'm not making porn," Francis said on the podcast. "It's always great to see people when they're drunk, what they're capable of doing."

Insider was unable to verify the existence or location of any tapes. If they were made, it's possible Francis could have used these tapes as additional leverage to get naval officers to do things that would further increase his firm's profits. Francis, for his part, claimed he never used them as blackmail because he already had these officers "in his pocket."

Francis told host Tom Wright, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, that the podcast was his chance to tell his life story.

Francis is out of federal prison and under house arrest in San Diego because he is suffering from kidney cancer, according to records of a deposition given by Francis in 2018 and obtained by the San Diego Union Tribune.

The podcast reveals that Francis is also living with his three children. The mother of two of those children told the podcast's host she hasn't been allowed to see them or know their whereabouts since 2013, despite court orders from two countries designating her as custodian.

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