Navy captain admits providing classified info in massive bribery scheme
By TONY PERRY | Los Angeles Times (TNS) | Published: January 15, 2015
SAN DIEGO — A Navy captain on Thursday became the highest-ranking officer to plead guilty in the $20-milllion bribery scandal in which classified information was sold in exchange for cash, hotel and travel expenses and the services of prostitutes.
The guilty plea of former USS Bonhomme Richard commander Capt. Daniel Dusek came hours before the central figure in the scandal, Leonard Glenn Francis, chief executive of a Singapore-based naval services company, is set to plead guilty in San Diego federal court.
A Navy commander, a retired lieutenant commander and an enlisted sailor have pleaded guilty. An ex-Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent and a cousin of Francis have also pleaded guilty. The cousin worked at Francis’ company Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd.
Dusek admitted that he provided classified information about the movement of ships in the Asia-Pacific region in exchange for bribes that prosecutors said were worth more than $10,000.
Among the bribes, according to court documents, was a free hotel stay for Dusek and his family in Waikiki and then free hotel rooms for Dusek in several locations. Dusek was provided with the services of prostitutes in Manila, Hong Kong and elsewhere.
Francis emailed an associate that Dusek “is a golden asset to drive the big decks (carriers and amphibious assault ships) into our fat revenue GDMA ports.”
After receiving bribes, Dusek arranged for the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and the amphibious assault ship USS Peleliu to stop at ports where Francis’ firm was dominant and could get the bid to provide “husbanding” services to the ships.
For more than two decades, Francis’ company supplied water, fuel, food, garbage and waste removal, tugboats, fenders and other items for Navy ships. Amid the scandal, the Navy has canceled all contracts with the company.
In 2010, Navy officials became suspicious that some of the bills submitted by Francis’ company from Thailand were padded.
Prosecutors said the bribery scheme cost taxpayers $20 million for bills that were padded and, in some cases, included payment for services not provided. The cost of lavish parties thrown by Francis for Navy officers was often hidden in the bills, prosecutors said.
Dusek, who has served 26 years in the Navy, could be sentenced to a maximum of five years in federal prison. He is set to be sentenced April 3.
Until his guilty plea, it had not been disclosed publicly that he was charged in the case.
Dusek had key assignments on several ships and was commanding officer of the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard. He also served on the command staff of the 7th Fleet in Japan, which gave him access to classified information about the movement of ships and submarines.
After Francis pleads guilty, the only defendant still pleading not guilty and awaiting trial is a Navy commander.
©2015 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.