Indian-Origin Woman Accused In US Navy Bribery Case
A 57-year-old Indian-origin Singaporean woman is accused of being involved in the largest bribery case in the history of the US Navy. She may face a jail term of more than three years, a media report said today.
Sharon Rachael Gursharan Kaur, the lead contract specialist for the US Navy, was allegedly involved in the $35-million ‘Fat Leonard’ scandal. The scam resulted in the arrest and conviction of several senior officers of the US Navy, including a rear admiral, The Straits Times reported.
Kaur was based at the US Navy’s Supply Systems Command Fleet Logistics Centre in Singapore.
The court heard on June 21 that Kaur received more than SGD 130,000 in bribes from Leonard Glenn Francis, the Malaysian chief executive of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA) — a subsidiary of Singapore-based Glenn Marine Group — which provides goods and services for American ships in at least a dozen countries in Asia
Francis is known to many US Navy personnel as “Fat Leonard”. He allegedly paid Kaur bribes between 2006 and 2011 as a reward for feeding him information regarding the US Navy that was restricted to the public. She would disclose procurement-sensitive data and price information of his firm’s competitors. Thus, he was able to prepare more competitive bids to secure lucrative contracts with the US Navy.
The court was informed by Deputy Public Prosecutor Jiang Ke-Yue that the information she leaked was linked to 16 US Navy contracts. GDMA submitted bids for 14 of them and acquired 11 contracts worth $48 million approximately. The prosecution made its submissions to the court and asked for Kaur to be handed a jail term of at least three years and seven months, the paper said.
On June 30, 2017, Kaur pleaded guilty to three corruption charges along with one count of dealing with the benefits of her criminal activities. She is currently out on bail of SGD 50,000 and is expected to be sentenced on July 6. The Defence counsel Suresh Damodara told District Judge Shaiffudin Saruwan that Kaur was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and went through total hysterectomy in late 2016.
Pleading for a short sentence, Damodara argued that incarceration could “exacerbate” Kaur’s medical condition and lead to a relapse, that can be life-threatening, the Singapore daily reported.
Francis had pleaded guilty to his offences in the US in January 2015 and remains in custody there. He faces a maximum jail term of 25 years and has since agreed to forfeit USD 35 million in personal assets.
According to DPP Jiang, more than 10 US Navy officials have pleaded guilty in the US to their roles since the scandal. The names include US Navy commander Bobby Pitts, in charge of the Fleet Industrial Supply Command in Singapore, and retired Rear Admiral Robert Gilbeau. Both were sentenced to one-and-a-half years’ of jail time last year.
Apoorva Lamba is an intern with SheThePeople.Tv