A Malaysian defense contractor nicknamed “Fat Leonard” who orchestrated one of the largest bribery scandals in US military history has been arrested in Venezuela after fleeing before his sentencing, authorities said on Wednesday.
The international manhunt for Leonard Glenn Francis ended with his arrest by Venezuelan authorities at an airport in Caracas on Tuesday morning as he was about to board an airplane for another country, the US Marshals Service said.
Interpol Venezuela Director General Carlos Garate Rondon said in a statement on Instagram that Francis came to Venezuela from Mexico.
Rondon said he was headed to Russia.
The arrest came on the eve of his scheduled sentencing in a US federal court in California for a bribery scheme that lasted more than a decade and involved dozens of US Navy officers.
There was no immediate word on when he might be extradited to the US.
Francis was under home arrest in San Diego, California, when he cut off his GPS ankle bracelet and escaped on Sept. 4.
Ten US agencies searched for Francis, and authorities issued a US$40,000 reward for his arrest.
US authorities also issued a red notice, which asks law enforcement worldwide to provisionally arrest someone with the possibility of extradition.
Francis in 2015 pleaded guilty to offering prostitution services, luxury hotels, cigars, gourmet meals and more than US$500,000 in bribes to US Navy officials and others to help his Singapore-based ship servicing company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia Ltd.
Prosecutors said the company overcharged the navy by at least US$35 million for servicing ships, many of which were routed to ports he controlled in the Pacific.
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