Julie Watson, AP, January 29, 2016
A Navy commander accused of diverting ships to Asian ports for a Malaysian contractor offering prostitution services and other gifts pleaded guilty to bribery charges Thursday, marking the eighth conviction in the massive scandal.
Michael Misiewicz is one of the highest ranking Naval officers charged in the case, which is centered on businessman Leonard Francis, nicknamed “Fat Leonard” because of his wide girth. Misiewicz pleaded guilty to one count each of conspiracy to commit bribery and bribery of a public official at a hearing in federal court in San Diego.
Misiewicz accepted theater tickets, prostitution services and other items, according to the criminal complaint. He provided ship routes to Francis and then they moved ships like chess pieces, diverting them to Pacific ports with lax oversight where GDMA submitted fake tariffs and other fees, prosecutors said.
In 2010, Misiewicz caught the world’s attention when he made an emotional return as a U.S. Naval commander to his native Cambodia, where he had been rescued as a child from the violence of the Khmer Rouge and adopted by an American woman. His homecoming was widely covered by international media.