Third navy commander, Malaysian charged in bribery scandal
WASHINGTON - A third US Navy commander and a prominent Malaysian business leader were charged Wednesday in a widening bribery scandal involving prostitutes, luxury travel and multimillion-dollar government contracts, officials said Friday.
Commander Jose Luis Sanchez, 41, was arrested Tuesday in Tampa, Florida and made a first appearance in federal court in Florida Wednesday.
He was charged with taking payoffs from a foreign defence contractor in exchange for classified and internal US Navy information, the Justice Department said in a statement.
Also named in a complaint unsealed Wednesday was Leonard Francis, 49, of Malaysia, the CEO of Glenn Defence Marine Asia (GDMA), the department said. He was arrested Septermber 16, 2013, in San Diego, California.
"According to court records, Sanchez allegedly provided Francis with internal Navy information, such as US Navy ship schedules - some of which were classified - and information about husbanding issues that could affect GDMA, in order to help GDMA win and maintain Navy business," the statement added.
Two other top Navy officials - Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 46, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service Supervisory Special Agent John Bertrand Beliveau II, 44 - have been charged separately in connection with bribery allegations.
Meanwhile GDMA executive Alex Wisidagama, 40, of Singapore, has also been charged with participating in a related scheme to overbill the Navy for services provided in ports across Southeast Asia, the department said.