Navy bribery fugitive ‘Fat Leonard’ seeking asylum in Venezuela

Leonard Glenn Francis ("Fat Leonard") poses for a photo with then-Adm. Gary Roughead, at the time chief of naval operations, during a July 3, 2008, breakfast meeting in Singapore sponsored by the Navy League of the United States Singapore Council and the American Chamber of Commerce Singapore. (Navy League of the United States Singapore Council)

David Matthews

New York Daily News

A defense contractor who ran a bribery ring involving U.S. Navy officials has asked for asylum after being captured in Venezuela.

Leonard Glenn Francis, nicknamed “Fat Leonard,” because of his 6-2, 350-pound frame, was under house arrest but escaped on Sept. 4 after he cut off his ankle monitor. He fled to Mexico and traveled to Cuba before popping up in Venezuela, which is considering his asylum request after he was arrested at Simon Bolivar International Airport near Caracas last Tuesday after trying to fly to Russia.

As the owner of Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd., Francis, 57, provided water, food and fuel and overbilled the U.S. Navy by $35 million by bribing officers to dock in ports he controlled in Southeast Asia.

Francis was awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty in 2015. He was in San Diego under house arrest while receiving medical care and assisting the prosecution, which led to 33 additional convictions of other defendants.

Ultimas Noticias, a newspaper affiliated with the Venezuelan government, reported that Francis said during a hearing that he was suffering from metastatic kidney cancer and wanted to reunite with his wife and family.

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