Following a 4-year investigation, federal authorities concluded that a previous Navy intelligence chief accepted extravagant meals, cigars and other illicit presents from a corrupt protection contractor regarded as “Fat Leonard,” but they ended up unable to confirm allegations that he also partied with prostitutes, new documents display.
The documents expose that retired Vice Adm. Ted “Twig” Department, a fighter pilot and aircraft carrier commander who turned the steward of the Navy’s insider secrets, had a decade-prolonged friendship with Leonard Glenn Francis, a Singapore-based maritime tycoon who has pleaded guilty to bribing scores of military services officers and defrauding the Navy of $35 million.
The character of their marriage had been a prolonged-jogging mystery. In November 2013, the Navy announced on a Friday night that it had suspended Branch’s accessibility to categorised material simply because he was beneath felony investigation by the Justice Section for his ties to Francis. The contractor’s organization held beneficial bargains to supply provides, gasoline and port expert services to Navy vessels in Asia.
For many years, Navy and Justice officers remained silent about the investigation, even though Navy leaders privately expressed stress that federal prosecutors ended up getting so prolonged to review the circumstance. In an uncommon twist, the Navy allowed Department to keep serving as its intelligence boss for more than 1,000 times even however he was barred from reading, looking at or listening to military services insider secrets. Department retired from the military services in October 2016, but the investigation of his perform ongoing.
In September 2017, on one more Friday night, the Navy announced in a temporary statement that the Justice Section had referred the circumstance to the Pentagon following at last choosing not to charge the three-star admiral. Cryptically, Navy officers said they had taken “appropriate action” from Department for unspecified wrongdoing, but they would not supply particulars and declared the circumstance closed.
Navy information acquired by The Washington Put up beneath the Liberty of Info Act get rid of some mild on the matter for the 1st time. The Navy stripped Branch’s name from the documents, but they comprise other data that matches the admiral’s military services services history. Department declined to remark but verified that the information pertained to his circumstance.
The closely redacted documents reveal that Department 1st fulfilled Francis in 2000 when serving as an officer aboard the USS John C. Stennis, an aircraft carrier. All through a port visit to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Department attended a evening meal paid for by Francis’s organization, Glenn Protection Maritime Asia, and improperly accepted a ceremonial dagger as a reward, in accordance to the documents.
The Navy investigated allegations that Department also attended a personal get together that night hosted by Glenn Protection and that the contractor gave him drinks, “the expert services of a prostitute” and a Malaysian pewter tea set. In the close, having said that, the Navy concluded that there was “insufficient evidence” to establish that Department was at the get together with the prostitute or accepted the tea set.
Five many years afterwards, Department and Francis fulfilled again. This time, Department was the commanding officer of one more aircraft carrier, the USS Nimitz. As the ship organized to visit Southeast Asia, he exchanged e-mail with Francis. The Navy refused to launch the messages, but The Put up acquired copies from other resources near to the investigation.
“You may not imagine this, but I am no longer a California Red Wooden,” Francis wrote in a Could 17, 2005, e mail in which he offered to arrange evening meal, drinks, and “a couple of rounds of fantastic golf at the most scenic courses” in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. “I really misplaced three hundred pounds given that we last fulfilled in 2000 but relaxation assured I’m continue to the similar outdated pleasurable loving Leonard you all know but only in a trimmer entire body!”
“Good to listen to from you Leonard and congrats on losing the fat,” Department replied. “We are searching ahead to HK and KL. It will be superior to see you.”
When the Nimitz arrived in Hong Kong two months afterwards, Department invited Francis on board the aircraft carrier for a personal lunch. All through the port visit, Francis returned the favor by web hosting Department and about 20 other officers from the Nimitz for a lavish evening meal at a restaurant overlooking Hong Kong harbor.
The food expense about $690 per individual and featured musical enjoyment, Cohiba cigars, Château Lynch-Bages red wine and Rémy Martin cognac, in accordance to a copy of the monthly bill acquired by The Put up.
Following the Nimitz remaining port, Department transmitted an official conversation from the ship regarded as a Bravo Zulu information, a Navy phrase which means “well performed.” Copied to numerous Navy headquarters, the information praised Francis and his enterprise for their “outstanding” and “over the top rated client services.”
The following month, Department and Francis fulfilled again when the Nimitz frequented Kuala Lumpur. Once more, Navy officers investigated allegations that Francis invited Department to a personal get together with booze and prostitutes on July 5, 2005, but observed “insufficient evidence” to establish that the officer attended the sex get together, Navy documents display.
Following the Nimitz departed Kuala Lumpur, Department sent one more Bravo Zulu information extolling Francis and his enterprise. “True to form Leonard, you offered unquestionably the optimum excellent services to my ship and crew,” Department wrote. “Your determination to the Navy and the professionalism you and your staff members exhibited is unmatched.”
Navy officers observed that Department accepted illicit presents from Francis on other occasions, together with a espresso-table ebook from Singapore and various presents of cigars, in accordance to the Navy documents.
While the Navy cited Department for 4 counts of misconduct, it does not surface that it imposed any penalties.
In a Sept. eight, 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 Department “through administrative motion.”
That is language the Navy generally works by using when counseling a sailor not to do something again. A Navy spokesman declined to remark.