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Fugitive generally known as ‘Fats Leonard’ arrested in Venezuela

A protection contractor on the coronary heart of 1 the biggest corruption scandals in U.S. Navy historical past was recaptured in Venezuela, two weeks after he minimize off his ankle monitor and escaped home arrest in San Diego.

Leonard Francis, often known as “Fats Leonard” on account of his 400 lb. weight on the time, pleaded responsible in 2015 to providing $500,000 in bribes to Navy officers, who in return shared categorized data with him and redirected navy vessels to ports that might serve the pursuits of his Singapore-based ship servicing enterprise, Glenn Protection Marine Asia Ltd.

Prosecutors mentioned the corporate overcharged the Navy by no less than $35 million for servicing ships, a lot of which had been routed to the ports he operated within the Pacific.

Francis remained below home arrest till September 4, when he minimize off his GPS tracker simply weeks forward of his sentencing. His disappearance sparked a world manhunt that culminated in his arrest on Tuesday. He was taken into custody on the Caracas airport as he was about to board an airplane for one more nation, the U.S. Marshals Service mentioned Wednesday. Authorities consider he was heading for Russia.

U.S. federal regulation enforcement had beforehand issued a “Crimson Discover” with the multinational policing group INTERPOL following Francis’ escape earlier this month. The alert is a name on regulation enforcement worldwide to find and provisionally arrest an individual pending extradition, give up, or related authorized motion.

An investigation into Francis’ rip-off was sparked in 2013, with authorities delving into capitals and ports spanning the Pacific, together with Singapore, Tokyo, Bangkok and Manila. It additionally triggered the arrests of a number of Navy officers, all of who had been accused of accepting money, prostitutes and all-expenses-paid journeys after which steering ships to Francis’ contracting firm.

With Francis’ cooperation, prosecutors secured convictions of 33 of 34 defendants, together with greater than two dozen Navy officers.

It was not cleat when Francis could be extradited to the USA.

With Information Wire Companies

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