‘Fat Leonard’ nabbed in Venezuela

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Malaysian defence contractor Leonard Glenn Francis, who earlier this month went on the run after escaping house arrest in the US, has been arrested in Venezuela.

According to NBC, the 58-year-old Francis, who is better known as “Fat Leonard”, was nabbed at the Simón Bolívar International Airport as he was trying to board a plane for another country.

The arrest came after the Venezuelan authorities were made aware of Francis’ wanted status by Interpol.

Carlos Garate Rondon, the director-general of Interpol Venezuela, reportedly said in a statement that Francis had entered the country from Mexico, with a stopover in Cuba, and was about to head to Russia.

Francis will remain in Venezuelan custody until US marshals and other federal authorities work on extraditing him to the US.

On Sept 4, Francis escaped house arrest in San Diego, California, after cutting off his monitoring anklet. The escape came just days before his impending sentencing in a major scandal involving bribing the US Navy.

Prosecutors said that in exchange for contracts, Francis plied Navy officers with cash, gourmet food, expensive cigars, rare cognac and wild sex parties in fancy hotels.

In 2015, Francis pleaded guilty to bribing navy officials as part of a wide-ranging bribery and fraud scheme involving his Singapore-based company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, which serviced ships in the navy’s Pacific Fleet.

The US Justice Department, which called the scheme a colossal fraud that cost the US Navy tens of millions of dollars, brought charges against more than 30 people, many of whom pleaded guilty or were convicted at trial. – Malaysiakini