The Complex

'Yummy … Daddy Like': How the Feds Took Down Another Navy Officer in a Sprawling Bribery Scandal

It was October 2009 when Navy Cmdr. Jose Luis Sanchez and Malaysian CEO Leonard Francis exchanged messages online about a trip Sanchez was planning to Malaysia and Singapore with his Navy buddies. The two men discussed the number of prostitutes Sanchez and his military friends -- nicknamed the "Wolf Pack" -- would encounter. Sanchez asked Francis to send pictures of the women. The CEO promised to hook the men up with a "nest" and some "birds," exciting the Navy officer.

"Yummy ... daddy like," Sanchez replied in an Oct. 19, 2009 message on Facebook.

Those accusations are at the heart of the case against Sanchez, 41, who became the fifth man to face charges in the widening scandal involving Francis's company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, and the military officers he allegedly bribed in exchange for classified information about the Navy. Sanchez was arrested Wednesday in Tampa, FL, according to the U.S. attorney's office. He is accused of accepting prostitutes, hotel rooms in fat-cat hotels across the Pacific, and $100,000 in cash for giving up secrets.

Sanchez is the third senior Navy official charged in the case. Already charged are Navy Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 46, and John Bertrand Beliveau II, 44, a supervisory agent at Quantico, VA, with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Francis, 49, and another executive at Glenn Defense, Alex Wisidagama, also have been charged in connection with the scheme, in which Francis's company allegedly used the information they gathered leaked by Navy officials to defraud the U.S. military of millions of dollars.

"According to the allegations in this case, a number of officials were willing to sacrifice their integrity and millions of taxpayer dollars for personal gratification," said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. "While the overwhelming majority of the 400,000 active-duty Navy personnel conduct themselves in a manner that is beyond reproach, we and our law enforcement partners at Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Defense Criminal Investigative Service continue to investigate the allegations of fraud and corruption that tarnish the stellar reputation of the U.S. Navy."

The scandal has rocked the Navy's 7th Fleet, headquartered in Yokosuka, Japan, just as it was set to boost operations in the Pacific. And it's unlikely the probe will end there. Court documents in the cases of both Misiewicz and Sanchez say that other unidentified Navy personnel were aware of malfeasance, and either did nothing or participated in the schemes. In one example, the criminal complaint against Misiewicz says he attended a Lady Gaga concert on May 25, 2012 with other Navy personnel who visited Laem Chebang, Thailand, during a port stop by the Blue Ridge, the command ship of the Navy's 7th Fleet.

Francis allegedly purchased the concert tickets and paid for prostitutes for the men who attended, according to Misiewicz's complaint.

"Don't chicken out bro we need u with us on the front lines J ... Who can we trust in the Office for Lady Ga Ga?" Francis said in a May 2012 email to Misiewicz, prosecutors allege, noting the playful use of emoticons in the message. "Tickets are not the issue who will keep silent :)"

Beliveau is accused of passing information about NCIS's investigation into Glenn Defense to Francis in exchange for prostitutes, airfare, posh hotel rooms, and a laptop computer for Beliveau's girlfriend. In particular, it outlines one trip Francis allegedly arranged for Beliveau in March 2011 to Bangkok, Thailand.

"According to one email, Francis asked: 'Joyce your kinda Babe'? Beliveau replied 'Nice. You bet. Hopefully I'm her kinda guy, hehe,'" the criminal complaint against him says. A photograph of the woman was allegedly attached to the email.

The complaint against Sanchez includes similar allegations. Prosecutors say he received $100,000 cash from Francis's company in January 2009, and continued to share sensitive Navy information with him until earlier this year. It included internal information that Glenn Defense used to its advantage while servicing U.S. ships. The company has locations in Japan, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, India, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Australia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and the United States, and deliberately overcharged the Navy while "husbanding" the ships, providing food, fuel, water, waste removal, and other tasks, prosecutors say.

Sanchez's complaint also has a variety of specific allegations regarding the officer accepting prostitution. Francis is accused of emailing a woman in Indonesia early in March 2011 to arrange prostitutes to meet Sanchez, another unidentified Navy commander, and two other men in Singapore.

"One of the emails described one of the 'girls' as 'Alda 167 cm [height] 36b [bra size] very young n still study, 17 yr," the complaint says. Francis later sent an email cancelling the planned meeting due to a tsunami in the region that allegedly kept Sanchez and his friends away from Singapore, prosecutors say.

Later that month, however, Francis sent Sanchez an email containing a picture of one of the prostitutes that had planned to meet the Navy officers in Singapore, court documents say. A brief message was attached: "I miss you BABE :)." Sanchez allegedly emailed the Glenn Defense CEO back the same day, saying "Nice pictures.....Brings back good memories :)."

In July of that same year, Francis allegedly arranged for prostitutes to meet with Sanchez again the following month in Singapore and Jakarta. He followed up with one of the women when Sanchez arrived in Manila, asking if she had met Sanchez, prosecutors say.

"I'm with h[i]m already heehhe," she responded on Aug. 28, 2011, according to court documents.

The complaint against Sanchez also raises questions about suspicious cash deposits that were made in the officer's bank account, including $10,000 by his wife this year on Jan. 28.

Navy officials and prosecutors have declined to discuss the cases, citing the open investigation. However, Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Navy's top spokesman, said in a statement Wednesday night that NCIS agents first uncovered wrongdoing in 2010 and began investigating.

"They have since been actively coordinating with other law enforcement authorities," Kirby said. "The Navy expects our leaders to uphold the highest standards of conduct and professionalism. As the work of this investigation concludes, we will make public as much information as possible. But we will do nothing to prejudice or preclude the important work investigators need to do and are doing. In the interim, the Department has taken administrative action to protect itself from GDMA, to include suspending GDMA from future contracting and discontinuing existing contracts."

U.S. Navy

The Complex

Russia Preps for Arctic 'Dominance' With Nuclear Icebreakers and Polar Warships

On Nov. 4, Russia's Regional Development Ministry concluded in a report that Moscow was unprepared for a war in the Arctic. Over the next two days, the Kremlin and it partners in the press moved quickly to assure the world that they were stepping up their efforts to establish their military presence in the land of the North Pole - with a nuclear-powered icebreaker and a squadron of warships.

The Regional Development Ministry's report assessed would not be able to quickly respond to an "attack" in the Arctic, with the border checkpoints lacking appropriate equipment and the servicemen the necessary training for "fighting in harsh climate," according to RIA Novosti. Other inhibitions to Russia's Arctic development included the fall in local population and climate change.

But, Arctic players of the world, don't get, um, overheated. After admitting this lapse in attempts to dominate the area, the Russian media quickly came out with reports about Russia's brand new Arctic capabilities.

On Nov. 6, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the Russian army had plans to form a squadron of ice-breaking warships to be deployed by 2014 to protect Arctic shipping routes. Infantry forces that are "to fight in the region" will also be provided with new equipment.

The day before, the Kremlin-backed news service RT reported that Russian shipbuilders set out to build a nuclear-powered mega icebreaker that would be able to cut through Arctic ice at any time of the year. The $1.2 billion ship will be the largest Russian icebreaker yet, and will reportedly carry the creative and original name of "The Arctic." It will be used to collect data along the continental shelf, but also "further increase Russia's dominance in the region."

And Russia really does plan to dominate. In mid-October, the Kremlin announced that Moscow wants to spend $63 billion by 2020 on its Arctic program. RT then somewhat nervously mentioned that the Canadian military was recently discovered to have been secretly testing a $620,000 stealth snowmobile "designed for clandestine operations in the Arctic." Russian officials have said in the past that they were increasing their military presence in the region to protect its shores from drug smugglers and illegal immigrants. Could they have another enemy in mind for their billion dollar icebreakers?

Eight countries put forth claims to the Arctic, which have in the past resulted in several territorial disputes. Only in 2010 did Russia and Norway resolve a 40-year border conflict revolving around the Arctic's natural resources. With Arctic ice melting at a rapid pace due to climate change, these resources will be easier to retrieve. According to the United States Geological Survey, the barren area holds 25 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and natural gas.

Despite the riches hidden under the ice, retired U.S. Navy Admiral James Stavridis wrote in Foreign Policy that an open conflict in the Arctic was improbable. "The likelihood of a conventional offensive military operation in the Arctic is very low."

But like the Black Watch in Game of Thrones, the Russians are preparing for war with someone, just in case. And if the White Walkers come, we will all be grateful for the Russian icebreakers.

Pink floyd88 a via Wikimedia Commons