The Navy’s epic bribery scandal grew even larger Wednesday as another officer pleaded guilty to leaking classified information to a foreign defense contractor in exchange for cash, luxury travel and sex.
Lt. Cmdr. Todd Dale Malaki, 44, a former supply officer based in Asia, pleaded guilty in federal court in San Diego to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.
He is the eighth person to be convicted on corruption charges in the scandal, which has rattled the upper ranks of the Navy and shows few signs of ending anytime soon.
According to his plea agreement, Malaki admitted to feeding classified ship schedules and other sensitive information to Leonard Glenn Francis, a Malaysian defense contractor who squeezed out competitors to become the primary supplier of goods and port services to U.S. Navy ships in Asia.
Francis, widely known as “Fat Leonard” in Navy circles for his girth, in turn provided Malaki with envelopes of cash as well as luxury hotel stays in Singapore, Hong Kong and Tonga that were worth a combined $15,000, according to the plea deal. The Navy officer also admitted that Francis once hired a prostitute for him during a visit to a karaoke club in Malaysia.
Francis pleaded guilty three months ago in the long-running federal investigation, which came to light in September 2013 when he was arrested during a sting operation in San Diego.
As president and chief executive of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a firm that had won hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Navy contracts, Francis admitted in court that he had bribed “scores” of Navy personnel with cash, prostitutes, extravagant meals and other gifts.
“It is both troubling and disappointing how many Navy officers we have exposed as willingly falling prey to GDMA’s corruption, and our investigation remains active and ongoing,” Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in a statement.
Investigators had targeted Malaki for months. His offenses were described in detail in court records when Francis pleaded guilty in January, but his name was redacted from the documents.
Court papers filed Wednesday show that Malaki signed his plea deal nearly a month ago, on March 17. His attorney, Jeremiah J. Sullivan III of San Diego, said the officer would continue to cooperate with investigators.
“Lt. Cmdr. Malaki accepted responsibility for his actions,” Sullivan said. “It doesn’t define him or his 25 years of honorable service.”
In addition to the criminal investigation overseen by the Justice Department, the Navy has censured three admirals for ethics violations in their dealings with Francis. Several other high-ranking officers remain under scrutiny.