Soon after a four-12 months investigation, federal authorities concluded that a former Navy intelligence chief recognized extravagant meals, cigars and other illicit gifts from a corrupt defense contractor recognized as “Fat Leonard,” but they were being not able to verify allegations that he also partied with prostitutes, new paperwork clearly show.
The paperwork expose that retired Vice Adm. Ted “Twig” Branch, a fighter pilot and plane provider commander who became the steward of the Navy’s strategies, experienced a 10 years-very long friendship with Leonard Glenn Francis, a Singapore-primarily based maritime tycoon who has pleaded guilty to bribing scores of armed service officers and defrauding the Navy of $35 million.
The character of their romance experienced been a very long-functioning mystery. In November 2013, the Navy announced on a Friday night that it experienced suspended Branch’s accessibility to labeled materials mainly because he was underneath criminal investigation by the Justice Office for his ties to Francis. The contractor’s firm held valuable specials to provide supplies, gas and port companies to Navy vessels in Asia.
For several years, Navy and Justice officials remained silent about the investigation, despite the fact that Navy leaders privately expressed frustration that federal prosecutors were being getting so very long to overview the case. In an unusual twist, the Navy authorized Branch to continue to keep serving as its intelligence boss for more than 1,000 days even however he was barred from looking at, viewing or hearing armed service strategies. Branch retired from the armed service in October 2016, but the investigation of his perform continued.
Previous September, on yet another Friday night, the Navy announced in a quick assertion that the Justice Office experienced referred the case to the Pentagon soon after eventually choosing not cost the a few-star admiral. Cryptically, Navy officials explained they experienced taken “appropriate action” towards Branch for unspecified wrongdoing, but they would not provide aspects and declared the case closed.
Navy files attained by The Washington Publish underneath the Flexibility of Data Act lose some gentle on the matter for the very first time. The Navy stripped Branch’s identify from the paperwork, but they incorporate other info that matches the admiral’s armed service company report. Branch declined to comment but confirmed that the files pertained to his case.
The heavily redacted paperwork reveal that Branch very first fulfilled Francis in 2000 when serving as an officer aboard the USS John C. Stennis, an plane provider. During a port go to to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Branch attended a supper paid for by Francis’s firm, Glenn Protection Maritime Asia, and improperly recognized a ceremonial dagger as a reward, according to the paperwork.
The Navy investigated allegations that Branch also attended a non-public celebration that evening hosted by Glenn Protection and that the contractor gave him drinks, “the companies of a prostitute” and a Malaysian pewter tea established. In the stop, on the other hand, the Navy concluded that there was “insufficient evidence” to show that Branch was at the celebration with the prostitute or recognized the tea established.
5 several years later, Branch and Francis fulfilled once more. This time, Branch was the commanding officer of yet another plane provider, the USS Nimitz. As the ship geared up to go to Southeast Asia, he exchanged email messages with Francis. The Navy refused to release the messages, but The Publish attained copies from other resources close to the investigation.
“You may possibly not consider this, but I am no more time a California Purple Wooden,” Francis wrote in a Might 17, 2005, e mail in which he presented to prepare supper, drinks, and “a number of rounds of excellent golfing at the most scenic courses” in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. “I in fact dropped 300 lbs . considering that we last fulfilled in 2000 but relaxation certain I’m nevertheless the exact old pleasurable loving Leonard you all know but only in a trimmer physique!”
“Good to listen to from you Leonard and congrats on shedding the pounds,” Branch replied. “We are searching ahead to HK and KL. It will be fantastic to see you.”
When the Nimitz arrived in Hong Kong two months later, Branch invited Francis on board the plane provider for a non-public lunch. During the port go to, Francis returned the favor by internet hosting Branch and about twenty other officers from the Nimitz for a lavish supper at a cafe overlooking Hong Kong harbor.
The meal value about $690 for each man or woman and featured musical entertainment, Cohiba cigars, Château Lynch-Bages crimson wine and Rémy Martin cognac, according to a copy of the monthly bill attained by The Publish.
Soon after the Nimitz still left port, Branch transmitted an official communication from the ship recognized as a Bravo Zulu information, a Navy time period this means “well finished.” Copied to numerous distinctive Navy headquarters, the information praised Francis and his organization for their “outstanding” and “over the prime purchaser company.”
The pursuing month, Branch and Francis fulfilled once more when the Nimitz visited Kuala Lumpur. After more, Navy officials investigated allegations that Francis invited Branch to a non-public celebration with booze and prostitutes on July 5, 2005, but identified “insufficient evidence” to show that the officer attended the intercourse celebration, Navy paperwork clearly show.
Soon after the Nimitz departed Kuala Lumpur, Branch despatched yet another Bravo Zulu information extolling Francis and his organization. “True to kind Leonard, you offered definitely the highest quality company to my ship and crew,” Branch wrote. “Your dedication to the Navy and the professionalism you and your staff displayed is unmatched.”
Navy officials identified that Branch recognized illicit gifts from Francis on other events, like a coffee-table reserve from Singapore and several gifts of cigars, according to the Navy paperwork.
While the Navy cited Branch for four counts of misconduct, it does not look that it imposed any penalties.
In a Sept. 8, 2017, memo, Adm. Philip S. Davidson — the commander assigned by the Navy to hand out self-control in the “Fat Leonard” scandal — mentioned that he “personally addressed” the matter with Branch “through administrative action.”
That is language the Navy typically utilizes when counseling a sailor not to do a little something once more. A Navy spokesman declined to comment.