International review Investigation

18-month Sentence for ex-Navy Commander in Bribery Scandal

Source: Star Tribune.

This material belongs to: Associated Press.

HONOLULU (AP) — A retired U.S. Navy commander in Hawaii was sentenced Monday to 18 months in federal prison for lying about his relationship with a Malaysian defense contractor nicknamed “Fat Leonard.”

David Kapaun abused his position in the Navy to help give a contractor an unfair advantage, U.S. District Judge Susan Oki Mollway said.

That contractor, Leonard Francis, has admitted bribing Navy officials with cash, prostitutes and other gifts in exchange for information to help his company. He’s awaiting sentencing. Prosecutors call him the center of a massive corruption scandal involving 30 defendants.

Kapaun, while working in Singapore from 2002 to 2004, was one of the officials Francis plied with gifts, Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Pletcher said. Kapaun was instrumental in helping Francis grow his company, Pletcher said.

Kapaun didn’t disclose receiving dinners, hotel stays and prostitutes from Francis, his defense attorney Victor Bakke said previously.

A “sense of entitlement” was partly to blame for his actions, Kapaun said at his sentencing. “I apologize to the American people,” he said.

Bakke said Kapaun was prepared to pay $50,000 restitution on Monday and will pay a $25,000 fine in installments.

Mollway also ordered Kapaun to serve three years of supervised release and 200 hours of community service.

Kapaun pleaded in guilty in June, saying he lied when didn’t disclose on a security clearance form his connection to Francis.

Kapaun retired and was honorably discharged in 2008 after a 25-year Navy career, Bakke said. The allegations prompted Kapaun to resign earlier this year from his civilian position as deputy chief of staff for the U.S. Special Operations Command Pacific.