Two Singaporeans charged in ‘Fat Leonard’ US Navy bribery case

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 September, 2016, 10:52am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 September, 2016, 9:30pm

Two former executives of a foreign defence contractor at the centre of a fraud and corruption scandal have been charged with conspiracy to defraud the US Navy and other offences, the United States Department of Justice said on Thursday.

The filing of the charges represented a widening of a US criminal probe known as the Fat Leonard case, in reference to the nickname for a Malaysian businessman named Leonard Glenn Francis at the centre of the scandal.

How 'Fat' Leonard Francis seduced and corrupted the US Navy

In the latest arrests, Neil Peterson, 38, and Linda Raja, 43, both of Singapore, were taken into custody by authorities in Singapore at the request of the US government, federal prosecutors said in a statement.

The two worked for Singapore-based Glenn Defence Marine Asia (GDMA), which was owned by Francis, who pleaded guilty to bribery charges last year. Peterson was the firm’s vice president for global operations and Raja was its general manager for Singapore, Australia and the Pacific Isles, prosecutors said.

Both Peterson and Raja were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and multiple counts of making false claims, the Justice Department said.

Peterson and Raja submitted more than US$5 million in false claims and invoices to the US Navy and covered up their fraud by, among other things, creating fake letterhead with graphics copied off the internet, prosecutors said.

The downfall of ‘Fat Leonard’: military contractor and US Navy captain admit bribery

It was not clear if Peterson or Raja have obtained an attorney to represent them in the US court system.

In June, US Navy Rear Admiral Robert Gilbeau pleaded guilty to a charge of lying to federal investigators, making him the highest-ranking officer to be convicted in the case. Gilbeau is awaiting sentencing. Sixteen people, including 11 current or former US Navy officials, have been charged in the investigation, prosecutors said.