In a plea agreement signed last year, Malaki admitted to delivering classified documents on more than a dozen occasions to an foreign defense contractor in exchange for a night out with a prostitute at a Malaysian karaoke club, envelopes of cash and hotel stays in Asia and the South Pacific. All told, the value of the bribes was estimated at $15,000.
“Malaki sold out the U.S. Navy,” Laura Duffy, the U.S. attorney in San Diego, said in a statement. “He put fellow sailors and warships at risk of exploitation, attack, or worse.”
Jeremiah J. Sullivan III, a San Diego-based attorney who represents Malaki, said the Navy officer apologized in court and took responsibility for his actions.
“He honorably served for 26 years and he tragically let all his shipmates down through his actions,” Sullivan said.
Malaki is the second member of the Navy this month to receive a prison sentence in the epic corruption case, which has slowly unfolded since the first targets were arrested in September 2013. On Jan. 21, Daniel Layug, a petty officer first class, was sentenced to 27 months behind bars for leaking military secrets to the defense contractor, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, in exchange for cash and electronic gadgets.
Seven other defendants—including three Navy officers and a senior agent from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service—have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing. Charges are pending against a senior Pentagon civilian official and a former Navy contracting official living in Singapore.
Meantime, more than 100 other people remain under investigation for potential criminal, financial or ethical violations.
Among them: two admirals in charge of Navy intelligence. Three other admirals have also received official censures from the Navy for dining at extravagant banquets and accepting other gifts from Leonard Glenn Francis, a Malaysian citizen and the boss of Glenn Defense Marine Asia. For nearly a quarter century, the company did a rich business with the Navy by providing fuel, water and supplies for its vessels at ports throughout Asia.
According to his plea agreement, Malaki started feeding sensitive material to Francis—a charismatic and large man known in maritime circles as “Fat Leonard”—in 2006 when the sailor was a supply officer and logistics planner for the Navy’s 7th Fleet, based in Japan.
At first, the documents show, Malaki gave Francis proprietary information revealing the prices charged by his competitors so he could get a leg up in bidding for future Navy contracts. Later, he handed over classified documents detailing planned Navy ship movements throughout Asia.
Over time, Francis leaned on Malaki to dig up dirt on other Navy personnel that the contractor could exploit to protect and enrich his business. “I need a favor from you and need to talk with you regards my favorite SSO,” Francis wrote in a June 2007 email to Malaki, referring to the Navy’s Ship Support Office in Hong Kong. “I need some dirty laundry o[n] them bad-mouthing us on email. A smoking gun.”
In November 2010, Francis was having trouble with a civilian Navy contracting official in Singapore and asked Malaki for help. According to the plea agreement, while under the influence of alcohol, Malaki bought a disposable cell phone and anonymously sent the official a “threatening text message” on Francis’s behalf. Court documents don’t say whether the tactic was effective.
Malaki also helped Francis recruit another Navy officer with a weakness for sex, according to other documents filed by prosecutors.
According to a plea agreement signed by Francis last year, he asked Malaki for advice how he might be able to tempt a Navy supply-corps lieutenant based in Singapore into accepting bribes.
“Maybe show him a good time,” Malaki responded in a November 2011, using obscene language to describe a sexual encounter. “Set up some class [expletive] he will be a lock.”
“Roger will do,” Francis responded.
Francis pleaded guilty to corruption charges last year and is cooperating with prosecutors while he awaits sentencing.