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Business executive sentenced to 5 years in Navy bribery scandal

[SAN DIEGO] An official at a Singapore company at the heart of a US$30 million US Navy corruption scandal was sentenced Friday to five years and three months in prison, and ordered to pay US$35 million in restitution to the US government.

Alex Wisidagama, 42, was sentenced in federal court in San Diego after pleading guilty to one count of conspiracy to submit false bills to the Navy.

Wisidagama, a citizen of Singapore, worked for his cousin Leonard Glenn Francis's company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, as its global manager for government contracts. The company held more than US$200 million in contracts for ship husbandry and maintenance for the Seventh Fleet in Asian Pacific ports.

In Jan 2015, Francis pleaded guilty to bribing Navy officers with cash, prostitutes, luxury travel and high-end electronics for inside information, including ship scheduling, and to steer business to his company.

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The bribery scandal reached high into the Navy's ranks and resulted in the censure of three now-retired admirals, who allegedly sought or accepted meals and gifts. Eight Navy officers and a civilian employed by the Navy have been charged criminally in the conspiracy and all but one have pleaded guilty.

Wisidagama admitted that he overbilled the Navy for millions of dollars worth of fuel, goods and port tariffs, according to court records.

He is the third defendant to be sentenced in the fraud prosecutions. His cousin, whose nickname is "Fat Leonard", remains in custody and is cooperating with prosecutors and Navy investigators in the ongoing probe.

REUTERS

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