Navy commander pleads guilty in bribery case

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SAN DIEGO — A U.S. Navy officer stationed in San Diego pleaded guilty Tuesday to federal bribery charges for providing a government contractor with classified ship schedules and other internal Navy information in exchange for cash, travel and entertainment expenses and the services of prostitutes.

Cmdr. Jose Luis Sanchez, 42, is one of seven defendants charged — and the fifth to plead guilty — in the corruption probe involving Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a Singapore-based defense contractor that serviced U.S. Navy ships and submarines throughout the Pacific.

Sanchez, the highest-ranking naval official to plead guilty in the case so far, is scheduled to be sentenced March 27. He held various logistical position with the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet in Asia from April 2008 to April 2013.

“Commander Sanchez lost sight of the Navy’s core values and embraced a lifestyle of greed,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.

According to his plea agreement, Sanchez admitted entering into a bribery scheme with the CEO of GDMA, Leonard Glenn Francis — nicknamed “Fat Leonard” — in September 2009. Sanchez provided classified U.S. Navy ship schedules and other sensitive U.S. Navy information to Francis and used his position and influence within the U.S. Navy to benefit GDMA, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Sanchez also admitted that he tipped Francis off about investigations into GDMA overbillings and briefed Francis on internal U.S. Navy deliberations, according to the plea agreement.

In return, Francis — who is awaiting trial — allegedly gave Sanchez things of value such as cash, travel and entertainment expenses, and the services of prostitutes, according to court documents.

Two other U.S. Navy officials — former NCIS Special Agent John Beliveau and Petty Officer First Class Dan Layug — previously pleaded guilty in the case, as well as former GDMA executives Alex Wisidagama and Edmond Aruffo.

In another development in the case today, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 47, was indicted on seven bribery counts.

The government alleges that from at least as early as July 2011 until September 2013, he provided classified U.S. Navy ship schedules and other sensitive U.S. Navy information to Francis and used his position and influence within the U.S. Navy to advance the interests of GDMA. In return, Francis allegedly gave Misiewicz things such as cash, travel and the services of prostitutes.

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