US & Canada

Top US Navy officer jailed over massive bribery scandal

In this photo taken on Jan 18, 2012 and released by U.S. Navy, its aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln transits the Indian Ocean Image copyright AP
Image caption Dusek arranged for US Navy vessels to stop at certain ports in return for gifts

A high-ranking US Navy captain has been sentenced to nearly four years in jail for passing classified information to a Malaysian defence contractor.

Daniel Dusek provided the information in exchange for luxury hotel stays and the services of prostitutes.

Dusek was also ordered to pay a $70,000 (£50,000) fine and $30,000 in restitution to the navy.

He is the highest-ranking officer to be charged in one of the US military's worst bribery scandals.

Sentencing Dusek in San Diego, California to 46 months in prison, Judge Janis Sammartino said: "It is truly unimaginable to the court that someone in your position with the United States Navy would sell out based on what was provided to you - hotel rooms, entertainment and the services of prostitutes."

Dusek, 49, who pleaded guilty in January 2015 to conspiracy to commit bribery, told the court he would never forgive himself for his actions.

The former captain was among several current and former naval officers charged in the scandal that involved tens of millions of dollars in bribes. At one point, Dusek served as deputy director of operations for the US 7th Fleet.

The man at the centre of the scandal, contractor Leonard Francis, plead guilty in the case last year, admitting that his Singapore-based port services company, Glenn Defence Marine Asia (GDMA), plied Dusek and others with meals, alcohol, luxury hotel stays and other gifts to ensure US Navy ships stopped at ports where GDMA operated.

In one instance, Dusek arranged for an aircraft carrier - the USS Abraham Lincoln - to stop at Port Klang, Malaysia, a port terminal owned by Francis. The 2010 port visit cost the United States about $1.6 million, officials said.

"Captain Dusek's betrayal is the most distressing because the navy placed so much trust, power and authority in his hands," said US Attorney Laura Duffy.

"This is a fitting sentence for a man who was so valuable that his conspirators labelled him their 'golden asset'," she added.

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