‘Fats Leonard,’ a fugitive in a U.S. Army bribery case, was once stuck in Venezuela : NPR


Leonard Francis, a Malaysian protection contractor nicknamed “Fats Leonard,” who orchestrated one of the most biggest bribery scandals in U.S. army historical past, has been arrested in Venezuela after fleeing earlier than his sentencing, government mentioned.

U.S. Marshals Provider by way of AP, Report


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U.S. Marshals Provider by way of AP, Report


Leonard Francis, a Malaysian protection contractor nicknamed “Fats Leonard,” who orchestrated one of the most biggest bribery scandals in U.S. army historical past, has been arrested in Venezuela after fleeing earlier than his sentencing, government mentioned.

U.S. Marshals Provider by way of AP, Report

SAN DIEGO — A Malaysian protection contractor nicknamed “Fats Leonard” who orchestrated one of the most biggest bribery scandals in U.S. army historical past has been arrested in Venezuela after fleeing earlier than his sentencing, government mentioned Wednesday.

The world manhunt for Leonard Glenn Francis ended along with his arrest via Venezuelan government Tuesday morning on the Caracas airport as he was once about to board an plane for every other nation, the U.S. Marshals Provider mentioned.

Francis had traveled to Venezuela from Mexico with a stopover in Cuba, Interpol Venezuela Director Normal Carlos Garate Rondon mentioned in a observation posted on Instagram. Francis was once headed to Russia and was once arrested on the major world airport in Caracas, the company mentioned.

The arrest got here at the eve of his scheduled sentencing in a federal courtroom in California for a bribery scheme that lasted greater than a decade and concerned dozens of U.S. Army officials.

There was once no instant phrase on when he could be extradited to the US.

On the sentencing listening to Thursday, U.S. District Courtroom Pass judgement on Janis Sammartino introduced to the courtroom that Francis was once in custody in Venezuela and {that a} “no bail arrest warrant” were issued.

“This flip of occasions raises a number of problems, and clearly can have an affect on different circumstances,” she mentioned. A sentencing listening to for 4 Army officials who went to trial within the case and had been discovered responsible is about for October.

Prosecutors requested the courtroom to notice that Francis failed to look at his sentencing listening to as ordered, whilst protection lawyers notified the courtroom that they might be submitting a movement severing their ties with Francis because of an “irreparable wreck down of the attorney-client dating.”

Sammartino set a Dec. 14 standing listening to for Francis with the caveat that each one events may just meet quicker relying on how occasions spread.

“I imagine that is all we will be able to accomplish this morning,” Sammartino mentioned.

Given its deficient family members with Venezuela, it can be tricky for the U.S. to get Francis again

The U.S. executive faces an uphill problem returning the fugitive again to American soil. The U.S. executive does not acknowledge Nicolas Maduro’s socialist executive, has no embassy within the nation and has imposed crushing sanctions at the nation that has additional embittered family members. Legislation enforcement cooperation between the 2 international locations is unusual.

Francis was once below house arrest in San Diego when he bring to a halt his GPS ankle bracelet and escaped on Sept. 4. Ten U.S. businesses looked for Francis and government issued a $40,000 praise for his arrest.

U.S. government additionally issued a crimson realize, which asks legislation enforcement international to provisionally arrest anyone with the opportunity of extradition. Malaysia and Singapore each have extradition agreements with the US.

Francis pleaded responsible in 2015 to providing prostitution services and products, luxurious motels, cigars, gourmand foods and greater than $500,000 in bribes to Army officers and others to lend a hand his Singapore-based send servicing corporate, Glenn Protection Marine Asia Ltd. or GDMA. Prosecutors mentioned the corporate overcharged the Army via a minimum of $35 million for servicing ships, lots of which have been routed to ports he managed within the Pacific.

Francis were allowed to stay in house confinement to obtain hospital therapy whilst he cooperated with the prosecution. Together with his lend a hand, prosecutors secured convictions of 33 of 34 defendants, together with greater than two dozen Army officials.

The pass judgement on had feared Francis would attempt to get away

Sammartino had feared Francis would run when she denied a request 4 years in the past to permit him to be below space arrest with out around-the-clock safety guards.

The pass judgement on again and again maintained that safety guards should be on website online for Francis to be on space arrest, in spite of his deficient well being.

Consistent with a transcript of a closed-door listening to in February 2018, which was once unsealed in January, Sammartino expressed fear that her title would arise if Francis escaped and ended up again in Malaysia if any person requested “who let anyone do that with out safety.”

She raised identical considerations in a Dec. 17, 2020, after receiving a file that the house was once left with out any person guarding it for almost 3 hours, in step with the courtroom transcript. The guard was once on a lunch wreck, and Francis apologized to the pass judgement on for the mishap.

Officers discovered no safety guards after they arrived at Francis’ house in a tony San Diego group some seven hours after he got rid of the ankle observe, in step with Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marsha, Omar Castillo. The software, believed to had been got rid of with heavy scissors, was once present in the house.

Castillo mentioned anyone had known as the San Diego police division, which despatched officials to the house at the afternoon of Sept. 4. Officials discovered the house empty and contacted U.S. Pre-Trial Services and products, the federal company in command of his confinement, which then contacted the U.S. Marshals Provider.

Neighbors reported seeing U-Haul vehicles coming and going from the house one or two days earlier than the get away, Castillo mentioned.

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