A Malaysian defense contractor known as “Fat Leonard” was nabbed in Venezuela after fleeing federal authorities in San Diego by cutting off his GPS monitor as he awaited sentencing for masterminding one of the largest bribery scandals in US military history.
A 16-day international manhunt for Leonard Glenn Francis ended Tuesday morning when he was detained at the Caracas airport as he prepared to board a flight to Russia, Interpol in Venezuela posted on its Instagram page on Wednesday.
Francis, nicknamed “Fat Leonard” for his 350-pound girth, traveled through Mexico and Cuba after escaping home confinement in San Diego on Sept. 4 by slicing off his ankle bracelet and was captured at Simon Bolivar International Airport, the posting said.
He had been the subject of a search by 10 US agencies and a $40,000 award was offered for his arrest.
Interpol had issued a “red notice” for him.
Federal prosecutors said Francis offered $500,000 in cash bribes, as well as luxury goods, travel, and prostitutes, to US Navy officials in exchange for information that would provide him with an edge in bidding for military contracts for his Singapore-based shipping business that serviced ports across Southeast Asia.
Francis’ scheme led to the Navy being overcharged by more than $35 million.
Along with Francis, 33 people have been charged in connection with the scandal, 22 of whom have pleaded guilty — including 17 Navy officials.
He was arrested in a sting operation in 2013 in a San Diego hotel room and had been on house arrest since 2018 after his conviction because of health problems.
Francis was scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 22.
He faced 25 years in prison.
Francis is being detained in Venezuela pending extradition.
With Post wires