Indian-Origin Singaporean Woman Accused in U.S. Navy Corruption Case
Sharon Rachael Gursharan Kaur is allegedly involved in the $35 million ”Fat Leonard” scandal of the U.S. navy.
A Singaporean woman of Indian origin has been accused of being a part of one of the biggest cases of bribery and fraud in the United States navy. Sharon Rachael Gursharan Kaur is allegedly involved in the $35 million ”Fat Leonard” scandal that resulted in the arrest and conviction of many officers of the U.S. navy, the Straits Times reported.
Kaur, who was working as a lead contract specialist for the U.S navy, was produced in court on June 21, where the prosecution demanded a jail sentence of 43 months for her, according to the report. The 57-year-old official, based at the Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Center in Singapore, is accused of taking bribes worth over S$130,000 from Leonard Glenn Francis, the Malaysian chief executive of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a company that provided goods and services for American ships in several countries in Asia. Kaur allegedly received the bribes in return for giving Francis confidential official information between 2006 and 2011, and helping his firm procure contracts from the U.S. Navy through more competitive bids.
The court heard that she passed on information about 16 contracts to Francis, of which GDMA submitted bids for 14, and secured 11 contracts worth about $48 million.
Kaur’s conduct “fell far short of the high standards of integrity demanded of her public office and flagrantly abused her position for substantial personal gain,” Deputy Public Prosecutor Jiang Ke-Yue said, according to the publication.
Kaur had pleaded guilty last year to three corruption charges and one count of dealing with the benefits of her criminal activities, the report added. Five other charges for similar offenses were also heard in court. Kaur is currently out on bail of S$50,000 and is likely to be sentenced on July 6.
Francis, who was known among U.S. Navy personnel as “Fat Leonard,” pleaded guilty to his offenses in the United States in 2015. He is currently in custody and faces up to 25 years in prison. He has agreed to forfeit $35 million in personal assets, the report said.
Kaur’s defense lawyer Suresh Damodara pleaded for a lenient sentencing for her, citing her ovarian cancer treatment for which underwent complete hysterectomy in 2016.
Over 10 U.S. Navy officials have pleaded guilty in the United States to their roles in the scandal, Jiang said, according to the publication. They include U.S. Navy commander Bobby Pitts, who was in charge of the Fleet Industrial Supply Command in Singapore, and retired Rear-Admiral Robert Gilbeau, both of whom were sentenced to one and a half years in jail last year, the report added.