U.S. Navy commander in court over bribery scandal

AFP-JIJI

A U.S. Navy commander appeared in court Wednesday, charged over a bribery scandal involving prostitutes, luxury travel and multimillion-dollar government contracts.

Cmdr. Jose Luis Sanchez, 41, made his first appearance in a San Diego courtroom after being arrested on Nov. 6 and charged with taking payoffs from a foreign defense contractor in exchange for classified information.

Judge David Bartick kept Sanchez’s bail at $100,000, as imposed when he was charged in Florida, and ordered him to continue wearing a GPS tracking device and be subject to travel restrictions.

Prosecutors allege that Sanchez accepted the services of prostitutes, luxury travel and $100,000 in cash.

Sanchez is due back in court on Dec. 5 to be arraigned.

Sanchez was charged along with Leonard Glenn Francis, 49, of Malaysia, the CEO of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia, who was arrested Sept. 16 in San Diego. Francis is due to appear in court Wednesday.

Two other top Navy officials — Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 46, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service Supervisory Special Agent John Bertrand Beliveau II, 44 — were charged separately over bribery allegations.

“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 last month.

“While the overwhelming majority of the 400,000 active-duty Navy personnel conduct themselves in a manner that is beyond reproach, we . . . continue to investigate the allegations of fraud and corruption that tarnish the stellar reputation of the U.S. Navy,” she added.