Move Over, Tailhook: The "Fat Leonard" Navy Scandal Is the Worst in U.S. Navy History


A new probe reaching to the top levels of the U.S. Navy is making waves.

The “Fat Leonard” corruption probe has expanded, and now includes over 60 Navy Admirals.


There were 440 Navy personnel, active duty and retired, who found their conduct under review, due to corruption and misconduct.

The “Fat Leonard” scandal, the worst corruption scandal in Navy history, centers around Malaysian contractor Leonard Glenn Francis, who bribed scores of officers with extravagant parties, luxury gifts, prostitutes and more in exchange for classified information to win lucrative contracts for his Glenn Defense Marine Asia company.

The Justice Department has already filed criminal charges against 28 people, including two admirals. Francis has pleaded guilty to bribing Navy officials and defrauding the government of more than $35 million, and is awaiting sentencing.

Last year, officials were citing around 30 admirals wrapped up in the ballooning corruption case. Officials are now admitting that the number is twice that amount.

The Navy has so far charged five people with crimes under military law, according to the Post, which cited charging documents. None of them were admirals.

The Navy has also concluded that 230 people under review were not guilty of misconduct, a Navy official told the Post. Many attended dinners or accepted gifts from Francis, but the Navy found there were extenuating circumstances that excused their actions, according to the Post.

There were another 40 cases of ethical violations that didn’t rise to the level of criminal conduct. Those were handled administratively.


It has been a long-ranging investigation, reaching as far back as 1992, in one instance. The majority of incidents, however, happened between 2004 and 2010. Because of the time line and statute of limitations, the Navy has not been able to take tougher measures, in those cases.

To give more specific details, however, the Huffington Post spelled it out:

Indictments in March against nine officers allege that Francis plied the men with Cuban cigars, $25,000 watches, and $50,000 worth of alcohol for a multi-day party, and a “rotating carousel of prostitutes” in exchange for information, Foreign Policy reported. Francis once rented the MacArthur Suite at the Manila Hotel, where Gen. Douglas MacArthur memorabilia was used for sex acts with prostitutes, according to the indictment.


This smacks of the 1991 Tailhook scandal, where more than 100 U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps aviation officers went buck wild at a convention in the Las Vegas Hilton, in Las Vegas, Nevada, resulting in career-ending charges for some officials who were present at the time of the incidents, as well as changes to how women in the military were treated.


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