USS Blue Ridge in 2008

Currently involving at least two Admirals and a further 19 current or former serving members of the US Navy it's one of the biggest corruption scandals in recent military history.

Of those charged 13 have pleaded guilty. Their crime... leaking classified information to help a Malaysian defence contractor fraudulently obtain $35 million from the US Navy.

As if that wasn't bad enough it seems that many of those involved were willing to sell their secrets for sex, with prosecutors this week alleging that the officials were bribed with the services of prostitutes, expensive hotel stays and lavish meals.

At the centre of the sordid affair is 'Fat' Leonard Francis (so-named because of his expansive waistline) whose company, Glenn Defence Marine Asia, is alleged to have supplied US Navy ships operating in the Pacific with food, fuel, water and equipment at vastly inflated prices.

USS Blue Ridge Departs From Hong Kong
USS Blue Ridge Departs From Hong Kong

Officers and two Admirals have been charged with helping him beat the competition and even taking ships into ports to enable 'Fat' Leonard to levy false fees.

Operating under group nicknames including the Wolfpack and the Brotherhood, the latest indictment released suggests that the accused men took part in sex parties involving prostitutes across Asia including in Manila and Hong Kong, as well as being wined and dined at vast sums before covering their tracks by using foreign email servers and fake names.

One such meal is said to have occurred during a visit by the amphibious command ship USS Blue Ridge to the former British Territorial dependent in 2008. Along with staying in expensive hotel rooms four men are alleged to have been taken out by 'Fat' Leonard for an eight-course banquet costing in excess of $18,000.

With another five arrests in Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida, Colorado and Virginia the head of the US Navy, Admiral John Richardson, has vowed to repair the damage caused to the Seventh Fleet by the increasingly embarrassing saga.

 

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