On August 20, 2008, a senior Royal Australian Navy commander typed a stunning email that has now landed him in the middle of the biggest fraud scandal in the history of the US Navy.
Using an account called “dingo11”, the sailor, who was then the Australian liaison officer for the US Seventh Fleet, allegedly sent an illegal message revealing the highly classified ship schedules for America’s largest and most powerful fleet.
According to US authorities, the person he sent it to was Leonard Francis, known as “Fat Leonard”, a Singapore-based defence contractor. In return, Fat Leonard paid the Australian commander and a small group of corrupt US naval officers, who called themselves the “Wolfpack”, with sex-fuelled parties, Cuban cigars, caviar, $2000 bottles of Cognac and presidential suites in Asia’s finest hotels.
The RAN is now in damage control and US authorities are believed to have referred the former commander’s actions to the Australian Federal Police.
The Australian understands that a second Australian naval commander is also being investigated in relation to suspected involvement in the bribery scam. Both men have since left the navy.