Navy officer pleads guilty in Asian bribery scandal

AP News
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Posted: Apr 15, 2015 5:37 PM

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A Navy lieutenant commander became the eighth person to plead guilty in a bribery scandal Wednesday, admitting he accepted hotel accommodations, cash-stuffed envelopes and a prostitute from a contractor in exchange for classified shipping schedules and other information.

Todd Dale Malaki, 44, acknowledged taking gifts from Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd. starting in 2006 with a deluxe room at the Grand Hyatt Singapore. He twice accepted envelopes with Singapore dollars equivalent to $1,500 and the services of a prostitute after visiting a karaoke club in Malaysia.

Malaki, who held positions in logistics and support for ships in Asia, took cash and gifts valued at about $15,000, including more than a dozen nights in hotels in Singapore, Hong Kong and Tonga, dinners and entertainment, according to a plea agreement. In exchange, he gave shipping schedules and competitors' invoices to GDMA's chief executive, Leonard Francis, who pleaded guilty to bribery in January.

Malaki, who remains on active duty in Los Angeles, faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison when he is sentenced July 6 for conspiracy to commit bribery. U.S. Magistrate Judge Mitchell Dembin set bond at $10,000.

Malaki declined to speak with reporters after a brief hearing. His attorney, Jeremiah Sullivan, said "Lt. Cmdr. Malaki has accepted responsibility for his actions."

Known in military circles as "Fat Leonard" because of his large size, Francis obtained classified information that allowed his company to overbill the military at least $20 million. He has admitted bribing officials with more than $500,000 in cash and gifts including alcohol, leather goods, designer furniture, watches, fountain pens, ornamental swords and handmade ship models.

In exchange, Navy officers re-routed ships to ports owned by Francis.

Malaki is the fourth Navy officer to plead guilty in the scandal and eighth person overall. The Navy has said three rear admirals linked to the scandal have been reprimanded but will not face criminal charges.

"It is both troubling and disappointing how many Navy officers we have exposed as willingly falling prey to GDMA's corruption, and our investigation remains active and ongoing," said Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell.

Two defendants have pleaded not guilty: Paul Simpkins, a former contracting officer for the Navy, and Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, a Navy captain-select.