U.S. Navy commander sentenced to prison in wide-ranging bribery scandal

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A high-profile U.S. Navy commander who pleaded guilty to accepting paid travel, prostitutes and Lady Gaga concert tickets from a Malaysian defense contractor in exchange for classified information was sentenced Friday to more than six years in prison.

Commander Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, who was born in Cambodia during the Vietnam War and gained media attention for his rise to captain of a U.S. Navy destroyer, is the latest high-ranking officer to be sentenced in the $30 million bribery scandal.

In all 10 people have been charged in the case and nine have pleaded guilty, including Malaysian businessman Leonard Francis, known to friends as “Fat Leonard,” who prosecutors say paid some $500,000 in bribes to Navy officials.

Three admirals, who are now retired, were also censured for their improper relationships with Francis and his company.

Misiewicz, who pleaded guilty in January to corruption charges, was sentenced to 78 months in prison during a hearing in U.S. District Court, federal prosecutors said. He was also ordered to pay $100,000 in fines and forfeit $95,000 in proceeds from the fraud scheme.

Prosecutors say he provided Francis classified information worth millions of dollars, including ship movements, and helping arrange visits by U.S. Navy vessels to ports where Francis’ company, the Singapore-based Glenn Davis Marine Asia Ltd, had contracts to provide tugboats, security, fuel, waste removal and other services.

In exchange, Francis furnished Misiewicz with such gifts as travel, entertainment, luxury hotel stays, prostitutes and five tickets to a Lady Gaga concert in Thailand in May 2012, according to court documents.

Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by James Dalgleish