Navy commander to plead guilty in massive bribery case

AP News
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Posted: Jan 28, 2016 3:31 PM

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A Navy commander accused of diverting ships to Asian ports to help a Malaysian contractor in exchange for prostitution services and other gifts has decided to plead guilty, his lawyer said Thursday, in what will mark the eighth conviction in the massive bribery case.

Michael Misiewicz is one of the highest ranking Naval officers charged in the case, which is centered on businessman Leonard Francis, nicknamed "Fat Leonard" because of his wide girth. Misiewicz will enter the plea at an afternoon hearing in federal court in San Diego, his lawyer Mark Adams said. He declined further comment.

Only one defendant of the nine named in the case is still fighting the charges. Prosecutors say the investigation is ongoing and there could be more arrests.

Francis provided an exhaustive list of gifts — including theater tickets, prostitutes, and plane tickets — for classified information that helped his Singapore-based company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd., or GDMA, overbill the Navy by at least $20 million, according to the criminal complaint.

Misiewicz provided ship routes to Francis and then moved ships like chess pieces, diverting them to ports with lax oversight where GDMA submitted fake tariffs and other fees, prosecutors said.

In 2010, Misiewicz caught the world's attention when he made an emotional return as a U.S. Naval commander to his native Cambodia, where he had been rescued as a child from the violence of the Khmer Rouge and adopted by an American woman. His homecoming was widely covered by international media.