US marshals offer US$40,000 bounty for info on Malaysian fugitive 'Fat Leonard'
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 10 — The United States Marshal Service (USMS) has placed a bounty of US$40,000 (RM179,840) for any information that would lead them to the arrest of rogue Malaysian military contractor Leonard Glenn Francis — also known as 'Fat Leonard'.
In a statement today, USMS, a federal enforcement agency under the US Department of Justice said that the defence contractor, who hails from the island state of Penang, is wanted for violating the conditions of his pretrial release.
"The United States Marshals Service is offering a reward of up to US$40,000 for information leading up to the arrest of Leonard Francis.
"Also known as 'Fat Leonard', Francis is wanted for violating the conditions of his pretrial release. He was convicted of bribing naval officials," said the USMS in a statement.
Francis had reportedly cut off his GPS monitoring ankle bracelet in the morning of September 4, alerting the United States Pretrial Services who then attempted to make contact with him to no avail.
Later that day, the Pretrial Service contacted the USMS for assistance to locate Francis, which activated the San Diego Regional Fugitive Task Force and began a high-profile manhunt for Francis.
Francis reportedly pleaded guilty in 2015 to charges he provided US Navy officers with cash, gifts and sex workers in exchange for classified information about where ships were scheduled to dock.
It was said he would then treat his targets to expensive gifts for their spouses and paid for a week-long holiday trip to Singapore and Malaysia for one of their families.
He allegedly did all of this so he could "prod his moles” on the Blue Ridge, the US Navy’s "floating headquarters in Asia”, to send other aircraft carriers and vessels to ports controlled by his Singapore-based company Glenn Defence Marine Asia.
He also reportedly persuaded these officers to divert other US-based vessels to his ports just so he could overcharge for fuel, supplies and other services.
Due to health issues, Francis was released on medical furlough and placed on house arrest in 2018, under the supervision of Pretrial Services, a federal agency in the US that keeps an eye on defendants who are out of custody until sentencing.
He had been reportedly working as a cooperating witness for federal prosecutors who were building cases against others involved in the scandal while he was in home confinement.
According to news reports, US Navy standards dictate that officers were only allowed to accept gifts that are worth US$20 (RM77.76) or less or with a cap of not more than US$50 (RM194.40) a year from one person or entity.