Retired US Navy captain pleads guilty in ‘historic’ bribery case

A retired U.S. Navy Captain became another official to plead guilty in a massive bribery case which allowed a foreign defense contractor to take over $20 million out of the navy’s pocket.

Michael Brooks, a retired Navy Captain, and former U.S. naval attaché in the Philippines, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery in the court on November 15.

In May 2016, Brooks was charged in connection with his interactions with Leonard Francis, the former CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a defense contracting firm based in Singapore. Brooks is scheduled to be sentenced on February 17, 2017.

Leonard Glenn Francis, nicknamed “Fat Leonard” because of his physical appearance was the CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a company that provided port services to U.S. Navy vessels in Asia.

The bribery involved high-ranking U.S. Navy officials giving away classified information and steering U.S. Navy ships to ports where Fat Leonard’s company operated.

Officials were given cash, gifts, travel expenses, Lady Gaga concert tickets and the services of prostitutes in exchange.

Brooks was no exception as he used his position to get travel and entertainment expenses, hotel rooms and the services of prostitutes.

Brooks used his office to benefit GDMA and Francis, including by securing quarterly diplomatic clearances for GDMA vessels, which allowed GDMA vessels to transit into and out of the Philippines under the diplomatic clearance of the U.S. Embassy.

Brooks also allowed Francis to ghostwrite official U.S. Navy documents and correspondence, which Brooks submitted as his own. Brooks also provided Francis with sensitive, internal U.S. Navy information, including billing information belonging to a GDMA competitor and U.S. Navy ship schedules.

So far, a total of 16 individuals have been charged in connection with the GDMA corruption and fraud investigation. Including Brooks, 11 of those are current or former U.S. Navy officials.