Captain Daniel Dusek. Photo / Supplied
Captain Daniel Dusek was a golden boy of the United States
Navy, commander of an amphibious assault ship and tipped for higher things.
Yet he was also the “golden asset” of a Malaysian contractor nicknamed “Fat Leonard”, steering aircraft carriers into ports with little oversight so the US
Navy could be cheated out of millions of dollars.
In return for classified information he was supplied with prostitutes and gifts.
At the weekend he was sentenced to 46 months’ jail for a role in a scandal that has escalated into the biggest corruption case to hit the US Navy – the third sailor to be imprisoned.
Dozens of officers are under investigation and two admirals – including the chief of naval intelligence – have been stripped of their access to classified information.
Dusek pleaded guilty last year and has offered evidence against his co-accused and the Malaysian mastermind at the heart of the scheme.
During the sentencing in San Diego, California, US District Judge Janis Sammartino said: “It’s truly unimaginable to the court that someone in your position … would sell out based on what was provided to you – hotel rooms, entertainment and the services of prostitutes.” She said Dusek’s actions “potentially jeopardised national security.”
Dusek, 49, was also ordered to pay a US$70,000 ($104,675) fine and US$30,000 in restitution to the navy.
His lucrative sideline came to public light in October 2013 when he was commander of the USS Bonhomme Richard. She was docked at her home port of Sasebo in Japan when navy officials boarded the vessel, relieving him of command.
He was the second-highest ranking officer to be caught up in an investigation that went to the heart of the US 7th Fleet.
Until then, he was highly decorated with a distinguished record, including service as deputy director of operations for the 7th Fleet, stationed on the USS Blue Ridge. It was a position of tremendous power. He served at the centre of the world’s biggest naval force comprising 60 ships and more than 40,000 sailors.
It was during that period, in 2010, he said, that a “senior officer who was a friend and a mentor” introduced him to Leonard Glenn Francis, the owner of Glenn Defence Marine Asia (GDMA).
At 1.9m tall and weighing about 160kg, he was known in Navy circles as Fat Leonard. To others he was the Lion King.
In evidence hinting at higher-level collusion, Dusek said he was told Francis was “a great friend of the Navy”.
Last year, he admitted forwarding classified information about ship movements to GDMA, which held contracts worth more than US$200 million to supply naval vessels in the region. He also steered vessels into ports where the GDMA provided “husbanding services” – from security to pumping out sewage – often at inflated prices.