Third Navy officer nicked in bribery scandal
SAN DIEGO — Federal authorities arrested a third senior U.S. Navy official on Wednesday in connection with a massive bribery scheme in Asia involving prostitutes and luxury travel.
U.S. Navy Commander Jose Luis Sanchez was arrested in Tampa, Fla.
In a criminal complaint, Sanchez is accused of accepting prostitutes, luxury travel and $100,000 cash from a Malaysian contractor known in military circles as “Fat Leonard.” Prosecutors say Sanchez passed on classified and internal U.S. Navy information to Leonard Francis’ Singapore-based company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd., or GDMA.
Wednesday’s arrest marks the latest development in the case that signals serious national security breaches and corruption and has set off high-level meetings at the Pentagon with the threat that more people, including those of higher ranks, could be swept up as the investigation continues. A hearing Nov. 8 could set a trial date.
Prosecutors in the court papers allege Sanchez is the second Navy commander who is accused of passing Navy ship schedules to Francis’ company.
Federal authorities in September arrested Navy commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz. He also is accused of passing confidential information on ship routes to GDMA.
Also charged so far are Francis; the general manager of global government contracts for Francis’ company, Alex Wisidagama; and a senior Navy investigator, John Beliveau II.