NZ Navy link to scan­dal

Auckland City Harbour News - - SITUATIONS VACANT - KELLY DENNETT

The Royal New Zealand Navy con­tracted ser­vices from a nowde­funct over­seas com­pany whose di­rec­tor sparked one of the big­gest cor­rup­tion scan­dals in United States’ navy his­tory.

How­ever the RNZN has re­port­edly said it won’t be in­ves­ti­gat­ing its re­la­tion­ship with for­mer Malaysian de­fence con­trac­tor Leonard Glenn Fran­cis, who is await­ing sen­tenc­ing after ad­mit­ting bribery charges laid by US pros­e­cu­tors.

Labour has said there was enough of a ques­tion mark for navy of­fi­cials to launch a re­view of its re­la­tion­ship with Fran­cis’ com­pany, but Prime Min­is­ter Bill English said ‘‘it’s a mat­ter for the navy’’.

US pros­e­cu­tors say Fran­cis bribed US navy of­fi­cials and used clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion to de­fraud the US navy of $34m through his busi­ness Glenn De­fense Marine Asia (GDMA).

The Sin­ga­pore-based con­trac­tor pro­vided sup­port ser­vices for the US navy but used cor­ruptly gath­ered in­tel­li­gence to bol­ster his busi­ness.

After a years-long in­ves­ti­ga­tion by US of­fi­cials, Fran­cis last year ad­mit­ted bribery charges and co-op­er­ated with in­ves­ti­ga­tors to se­cure the ar­rest of dozens of naval staff, in­clud­ing se­nior per­son­nel. He ad­mit­ted ply­ing them with en­velopes of cash, pros­ti­tutes, stays at re­sort ho­tels and lux­ury feasts when their ships docked at ports through­out Asia.

The case has been dubbed the ‘Fat Leonard’ scan­dal, be­cause of Fran­cis’ 160kg weight.

Fran­cis re­port­edly trav­elled with a bevy of pros­ti­tutes, whom he used to bribe navy of­fi­cials with sex, lav­ish gifts, and cash, in re­turn for clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion which he used to aug­ment his busi­ness in­ter­ests.

One of the high­est rank­ing US of­fi­cials jailed over the scan­dal, Cap­tain Daniel Dusek, told in­ves­ti­ga­tors Fran­cis went so far as to pur­chase a de­com­mis­sioned Bri­tish naval ves­sel and turn it into a party boat to en­ter­tain top US navy brass.

In a state­ment, the RNZN said it had con­tracted ser­vices to GDMA be­tween 2007 and 2011 for ship vis­its it made to South­east Asia.

It had paid $710,235 to the com­pany at the time but had no stand­ing or en­dur­ing con­tract with the com­pany. Ser­vices in­cluded tugs, pro­vi­sion of buses and rub­bish col­lec­tion., RNZN said.

The navy hadn’t con­ducted an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into its spend­ing with GDMA and didn’t in­tend to do so, The Guardian re­ported.

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