A US Navy commander has been found guilty of involvement in taking cash and prostitutes as bribes in exchange for intelligence.
Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz appeared in the US District Court in San Diego, pleading guilty on Thursday to charges of accepting paid travel, prostitutes and Lady Gaga concert tickets from a Malaysian defense contractor in exchange for classified information.
Misiewicz admitted to providing Malaysian businessman Leonard Francis, known to friends as “Fat Leonard,” classified information worth millions of dollars.
The information he gave to Francis included ship movements and helping arrange visits by US Navy vessels to ports where Francis’ company, the Singapore-based Glenn Davis Marine Asia Ltd, had contracts to provide tugboats, security, fuel, waste removal and other services, prosecutors said.
He was born in Cambodia during the Vietnam War and gained media attention for his rise to captain of a US Navy destroyer, Reuters reported.
Francis pleaded guilty to bribery in January 2015 and agreed to forfeit $35 million in ill-gotten gains. According to that plea agreement, Francis paid about $500,000 in bribes to Navy officials.
The complaint against Misiewicz described the two men as developing a close friendship in which Misiewicz referred to Francis by such terms as “Big Brother,” “Big Bro” or “BB” and the defense contractor called him “Little Brother,” “Little Bro” or “LB.”
Misiewicz was formerly a deputy operations officer for the US commander of the Seventh Fleet, which oversees operations over some 48 million square miles extending from Japan to Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean and from Vladivostok, Russia, to Australia.