2nd S'pore firm employee charged in US Navy bribery case

2nd S'pore firm employee charged in US Navy bribery case

The Singapore company accused of defrauding the United States Navy is sinking into deeper trouble.

A fourth man - and second senior employee of Glenn Defence Marine Asia (GDMA) - has been charged over the alleged subterfuge in which the US Navy suffered millions of dollars in losses.

According to the latest court documents filed on Oct 11 and obtained by The Sunday Times after the end of the US federal shutdown last week, GDMA's country manager for Thailand - who was not named - had admitted to being cognisant of the scam.

She told investigators that senior management wanted to make GDMA's prices appear low, even though it had jacked up rates.

As a result, GDMA's general manager for global government contracts Alex Wisidagama, believed to be a Malaysian, was charged this month. He and chief executive officer Leonard Glenn Francis, a 58-year-old Malaysian, are now in US custody.

In 2009, GDMA was awarded a one-year contract to provide the US Navy with "husbanding" services in South-east Asia, with a possible extension of up to four years for a total of US$125 million (S$155 million).

"Husbanding" involves procuring services - from tugboats to food and fuel, and even trash removal - needed by ships when they port.

Francis had allegedly identified some ports to be more lucrative due to their lack of regulatory scrutiny, terming them "pearl ports".

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