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Former U.S. Naval Attaché jailed for taking Fat Leonard bribes

A retired Navy Captain who served as the U.S. Naval Attaché to the Philippines was sentenced Friday to 41 months in prison for helping a foreign defense contractor avoid vessel and cargo inspections by using diplomatic cover.

Michael Brooks, 57, of Fairfax Station, Virginia appeared in federal court in San Diego. He was also ordered to pay a $41,000 fine and $31,000 in restitution to the U.S. Navy.

Brooks pleaded guilty in November 2016 to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery.

He served as the Naval Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines from 2006 to 2008.

He admitted accepting travel and entertainment expenses, hotel rooms, and the services of prostitutes from Leonard Glenn Francis and his firm, Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA).

In return, Brooks secured quarterly diplomatic clearances for GDMA vessels. That allowed the vessels to move into and out of the Philippines under the diplomatic cover of the U.S. Embassy. 

With diplomatic cover, the vessels avoided cargo inspections and paid little or no taxes and duties.

Francis, 51, a Malaysian national also known as Fat Leonard, pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court to bribing dozens of Navy officials. He’s waiting to be sentenced.

His Singapore-based company provided Navy ships with food, water, cleaning, and other port services at ports across Asia.

According to the Navy, Attachés serve as military advisors to U.S. Ambassadors. They report on in-country and regional political-military activities. Attachés also support “U.S. military security cooperation and/or security assistance programs.”

Brooks allowed Francis to ghostwrite official U.S. Navy documents and correspondence, which Brooks submitted as his own.

For example, Brooks let GDMA write its own contractor performance evaluations. A November 2007 evaluation written by GDMA and submitted by Brooks described the company’s performance as “phenomenal,” “unsurpassed,” “exceptional” and “world class.”

Brooks used a private Yahoo! e-mail account to hide his relationship with Francis.

He gave Francis “sensitive, internal U.S. Navy information, including U.S. Navy ship schedules and billing information belonging to a GDMA competitor,” the DOJ said.

Twenty-one current and former Navy officials have been charged so far in the massive fraud and bribery scandal.

Ten have pleaded guilty and 10 cases are pending.

In addition to Francis, four other GDMA executives have also pleaded guilty.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

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