- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 22, 2022

A convicted Malaysian contractor who fled days before sentencing in a corruption scandal that ensnared a number of high-ranking U.S. Navy officers was arrested in Venezuela Wednesday while boarding a flight to Russia.

Leonard Glenn Francis, who went by the name “Fat Leonard,” was captured following the issuing of a “red notice” by Interpol officials in the U.S. He had been under house arrest in San Diego in early September when he cut off his ankle monitor and fled.

In his 2015 plea agreement, Francis admitted to plying Navy officials with cash, luxury goods and prostitutes in exchange for lucrative contracts to provide warships with supplies. He is believed to have overcharged the Navy by tens of millions of dollars, officials said.

At least 30 Navy officers and civilian officials were implicated in the corruption investigation.

A California judge allowed Francis to remain at home under house arrest after he was diagnosed with cancer.

Officials with the U.S. Marshals Service said he cut off his ankle monitor and escaped to Mexico. It was later discovered that several U-Haul trailers had been spotted at his home just before making the escape.

Francis was turned over to authorities in Venezuela following his capture. It wasn’t clear when he might be extradited to the U.S. on the corruption charge and whether new charges might be filed for his attempted escape.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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