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Top US navy officer jailed in massive bribery scandal

A money changer counts U.S. dollar bills at a currency exchange office in central Istanbul

Los Angeles: A top US Navy officer was sentenced to 46 months in prison for giving classified information to a Malaysian contractor in exchange for prostitutes and lavish gifts.

Captain Daniel Dusek, the highest-ranking officer charged in a massive navy bribery scandal, was also ordered to pay a USD 70,000 fine and USD 30,000 in restitution to the navy.

“It’s truly unimaginable to the court that someone in your position with the United States Navy would sell out based on what was provided to you – hotel rooms, entertainment and the services of prostitutes,” US District Judge Janis Sammartino said during the sentencing in San Diego, California.

Dusek, 49, who pleaded guilty in January 2015 to conspiracy to commit bribery, was among several current and former naval officers charged in the scandal that involved tens of millions of dollars in bribes. At one point Dusek served as deputy director of operations for the US 7th Fleet.

The man at the center of the scandal, contractor Leonard Francis, also pleaded guilty in the case last year, admitting that his Singapore-based company – Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), which provided port services – plied Dusek and others with meals, alcohol, luxury hotel stays and other gifts to ensure US Navy ships stopped at ports where GDMA operated.

In one instance, Dusek arranged for an aircraft carrier – the USS Abraham Lincoln – to stop at Port Klang, Malaysia, a port terminal owned by Francis, the charge sheet said.

The 2010 port visit cost the United States about USD 1.6 million, officials said.

“Captain Dusek’s betrayal is the most distressing because the navy placed so much trust, power and authority in his hands,” said US Attorney Laura Duffy. “This is a fitting sentence for a man who was so valuable that his conspirators labeled him their ‘golden asset.'”

As part of his guilty plea, Leonard Francis admitted he bilked the US military out of tens of millions of dollars by routinely overbilling for fuel, tugboat services and sewage disposal.

He agreed to forfeit USD 35 million that he made in the scheme and to repay the navy whatever amount the court decides.

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