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Arriving on a Glenn gangplank, US sailors set to enjoy Phuket

How US Navy Sex, Scams Scandal Reached Phuket: New Details in Report

Monday, October 7, 2013
PHUKET: The owner of a multinational firm sought to direct US warships to Phuket and other ''pearl ports'' to maximise income, a new report on the Glenn Defense Marine Asia scandal reveals.

According to court documents, the US Navy was overcharged by US$2.3 million for port visits to Thailand in 2011 and 2012.

Tickets to popular shows such as 'The Lion King' and offers of prostitutes were used as bait by Glenn's owner and CEO, Leonard Glenn Francis, 58, the Straits Times reveals.

US investigators pursuing evidence against the Singapore-based businessman have been on Phuket to garner details on how corruption there added to alleged fraud involving hundreds of millions of dollars in US government contracts.

Francis was suspected of putting in bids from fraudulent sub-contractors and shell companies, or even false quotes from rivals at a higher rate, so as to win tenders.

According to the Straits Times, Francis wanted to divert US warships to what he called ''pearl ports,'' including Phuket in Thailand and Malaysia's Port Klang.

The aim: to persuade senior US Navy officers so the warships could anchor off particular destinations where extra charges could be incurred for Glenn's benefit.

''We gotta get him hooked on something,'' Francis, a father of five, wrote to his ex-officer associate, known as EA in court documents.

Francis was referring to US Navy Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 46.

In January 2011, Misiewicz became the deputy operations officer for the Commander US Seventh Fleet (C7F) based in Yokosuka, Japan.

The fleet is the United States' largest outside the country, with an area of operations stretching 125 million sq km from Japan to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, and from Vladivostok, Russia, to Australia.

The targetting of Misiewicz allegedly began with tickets for his family to a 'Lion King' show in Tokyo in December 2010.

In March 2011, the Straits Times reports, there was an attempt to secure four prostitutes for Misiewicz and several others on a trip to Singapore that month.

The trip never happened because Japan was hit by a tsunami.

In July, Misiewicz sent a series of e-mail messages revealing the schedule of US ships.

''We got him,'' wrote EA in an e-mail to Francis.

Soon Misiewicz was addressing Francis as 'Big Brother.' and even opened a private e-mail account based on Francis's initials.

Misiewicz began using his authority to ''work (Francis's) business plan'' by redirecting warships to the pearl ports.

The depth of involvement of people on the ground in Phuket has yet to be fully revealed by investigators.

However, the Straits Times now reveals how the alleged scam worked, citing one example.

In October last year, the aircraft carrier USS George Washington was diverted from Singapore to Port Klang, where Glenn charged it more than US$1.8 million.

In return, Francis flew Misiewicz and his family to Cambodia for a cousin's wedding, bought him a stay at Singapore's Shangri-La hotel and got him and his colleagues tickets to a Lady Gaga concert in Thailand last May.

Once, Francis told Misiewicz of his disappointment that they were not able to go out together in Thailand, missing out on ''my Elite Thai Seal team'' - a reference to prostitutes.

The alleged rip-offs started in July 2010, when the company charged the Navy US$110,000 in dockage and wharfage fees after three vessels visited Thailand for an exercise.

This was despite a prior agreement with the Royal Thai Navy that fees would be waived, the newspaper says.

A third man, US Navy National Crime Investigation Service supervisory special agent John Bertrand Beliveau II, 44, was in Francis's pocket and gave out secret information, it's alleged.

In return, Francis allegedly bought Beliveau a vacation to Bangkok and a hotel stay at the five-star Dusit International Hotel in March 2011, arranged for female escorts and a laptop for his Filipino girlfriend.

Captain Daniel Dusek of the USS Bonhomme Richard - a vessel that has frequently called at Phuket - has since been dismissed from his command in an action believed to be linked to the scandal.

Francis, Misiewicz and Beliveau are all under arrest.

The US military newspaper 'Stars and Stripes' adds that when the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis visited Sepangar in September 2012, Francis' company billed the Navy $2.7 million for services.

Two similar carrier visits to Malaysia in 2011 cost about half that figure, according to Defense Contract Auditing Agency data cited in the complaint.

The Stennis visited Phuket in October, 2012. Other carriers to visit include the USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Nimitz.

Glenn has been providing husbandry - which essentially means caring for the needs of US Navy ships and crews and reprovisioning - on Phuket and around other Asian and Australian ports for 25 years.

Comments

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Maybe Thailand can learn from America. Even though America was ripped off, they're investigating it and will prosecute, no matter how much money this man has.

Posted by Tbs on October 7, 2013 08:40

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Ah! Hidden commissions, do the US Navy need to known about this?

Posted by chill on October 7, 2013 15:20


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