Sex, ports and government contracts

Sex, ports and government contracts

Singapore-based businessman Leonard Glenn Francis has been reported to own a sprawling 70,000 sq ft Nassim Road bungalow, which has become famous for its extravagant Christmas light-ups.

But his next home could be a jail in the United States, where the 58-year-old Malaysian father of five was charged last month with defrauding the US Navy in a case involving hundreds of millions of dollars in government contracts.

Part of the plot allegedly involved bribing a US Navy commander and a special agent with luxury travel and women in exchange for classified information that allowed Francis to profit from his business dealings with the US Navy.

On Sept 16, Francis, now facing a possible five years in jail for conspiring to commit bribery, was arrested in San Diego while on a business trip.

It brings an end to what was apparently two years of subterfuge. Now, The Sunday Times has obtained court documents which show how far and deep the alleged deceit went.

The business

Francis is the owner of multinational firm Glenn Defence Marine Asia (GDMA), based at 15D Pandan Road. It makes its money from "husbanding" services, which involves procuring services needed by ships when they port - from tugboats to food and fuel, and even trash removal. The firm has served the US Navy for over 25 years.

But it seems Francis wanted more. He needed a way to divert US warships to what he called "pearl ports", such as Phuket in Thailand and Malaysia's Port Klang, where it would be easier to fake invoices and jack up charges, from places such as Singapore, where checks were more thorough.

He needed someone who could tell him which ports US Navy ships were headed to, and who had enough influence to direct warships to the pearl ports. That man was US Navy Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 46.

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