Retired Navy captain indicted in massive bribery scandal
HONOLULU (AP) — A retired U.S. Navy captain in Hawaii has been indicted on federal charges of receiving at least $145,000 in bribes from a Malaysian defense contractor.
David Haas is the latest former or current Navy official to be caught up in a wide-ranging bribery and fraud scandal, which the Navy said cost taxpayers nearly $35 million, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Saturday.
Leonard Francis, a contractor nicknamed “Fat Leonard,” pleaded guilty in 2015 to bribery and fraud charges in a decadelong conspiracy to overbill the U.S. Navy for fuel, food and other services that his company provided to ships in Southeast Asia.
Haas used his influence to steer ships to ports controlled by Francis’ company and otherwise advance Francis’ interests, according to the indictment Thursday.
In return, the Justice Department alleges, Francis paid for expensive dinners, prostitutes and alcohol for Haas and others on different occasions in 2011 and 2012.
Haas is now a Federal Emergency Management Agency coordinating officer in Hawaii.
“FEMA is aware of the grand jury indictment against Mr. David Haas,” spokeswoman Brandi Richard said Friday. “The agency takes all charges and allegations of misconduct extremely seriously. However, as with any personnel matter, we cannot comment further at this time.”
Neither Haas nor his San Diego-based attorney could be reached for comment.
Dozens of former Navy officers and others have been charged in the scandal that the Justice Department called a betrayal of “epic proportions.” To date, 32 defendants have been charged, and 20 have pleaded guilty.
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com