Saturday, November 23, 2013

Exporting Corruption

Malaysia is especially well-known for its big bucks' earnings from exports such as electrical and electronic goods, palm oil and high grade petroleum. Now the country can add another export: Corruption. 

Leonard Francis (left) is the Malaysian defense contractor known in military circles as “Fat Leonard” who is now hogging the news for allegedly using his US Navy connections to obtain military secrets by providing hookers, Lady Gaga concert tickets and other bribes in a scandal reverberating across the said institution. He is also accused of luring naval officers into a lucrative scheme that over-billed the Pentagon by millions of dollars. The accusations unfolding in a federal court case in San Diego, California signal serious national security breaches and corruption. 

Francis befriended US Navy commanders in the Pacific and his Singapore-based company Glenn Defence Marine Asia Ltd service American warships for the past 25 years. GDMA provides various shipping services including tugboats, security, transportation, supplies, fuel and waste removal. 

The Straits Times reported that Francis is famous for his extravagance. His bungalow in an upscale Singapore neighborhood drew spectators since 2007 to its lavish, outdoor Christmas decorations, which the Singapore newspaper described as rivaling the island city-state’s main shopping street (i.e. Orchard Road).

And of course, this story will get juicer as we learn more. 

This morning, I departed Melbourne on board MH146 after a 5 day stay in Australia. Although I was there for an academic conference, I have had an additional two days for R&R. A good short break!

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