Your Navy

Defense Department employee pleads guilty to bribery in Navy 'Fat Leonard' scandal

SAN DIEGO — A former civilian Defense Department officer who oversaw military contracts has pleaded guilty to bribery in connection with a wide-spanning Navy corruption case involving a Malaysian businessman whom prosecutors say bilked the military out of more than $34 million.

Paul Simpkins entered his plea Thursday in federal court in San Diego. Prosecutors say he accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for helping Singapore-based businessman Leonard Francis. Simpkins could not be reached for comment.

Simpkins is among more than a dozen charged in the scandal centered on the Malaysian businessman, known by his nickname "Fat Leonard."

Francis pleaded guilty to bribery charges and is awaiting sentencing.

Prosecutors say Simpkins helped Francis' company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia, get Navy contracts to service its ships.

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