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Another Navy officer implicated in bribery scandal, sacked

Nov. 21, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
USS Thach in Persian Gulf
Capt. David Haas has been removed from his position as deputy commander of Coastal Riverine Group 1 after allegations of his involvement in an ongoing Navy scandal involving Glenn Defense Marine Asia. Here, then-Cmdr. Haas reviews the daily schedule while commanding the frigate Thach during a 2008 deployment to the Persian Gulf. (MC3 Torrey Lee / Navy)
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A sixth senior Navy officer was implicated Thursday in connection with the continuing investigation into the practices of the husbanding company Glenn Defense Marine Asia and fired from his post, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command said in a Thursday news release.

Capt. David Haas, the deputy commander of San Diego-based Coastal Riverine Group 1, was suspended Nov. 15 “based upon allegations in connection with an ongoing Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation into Glenn Defense Marine,” NECC said in the news release, which adds that Haas will retain his rank.

NECC did not immediately specify the nature of the allegations Haas faces, which are believed to stem from an ethics issue such as keeping expensive gifts that should have been refused or turned over to the Navy.

Haas, a former commanding officer of the frigate Thach, has been temporarily reassigned to the staff of Expeditionary Training Group.

The head of GDMA, Leonard Glenn Francis, is at the center of the expanding federal investigation into whether his firm overcharged the Navy millions in ports across Asia and bribed senior Navy officers to steer the ships where he could make the most money. Francis, a heavy-set Malaysian known to some as “Fat Leonard,” is well-known in the fleet for giving lavish gifts and doling out invitations to VIP parties, placing officers in an ethical bind, as Navy Times reported Nov. 15.

The ensuing investigations appear to have uncovered evidence that calls Haas’ judgment into question. Haas has not been criminally implicated and it is unclear whether his connections to GDMA could lead to charges as it has against two other officers, Cmdrs. Mike Misiewicz and Jose Luis Sanchez — who, like Francis, have pleaded not guilty.

In addition, the Navy fired Capt. Daniel Dusek, the CO of the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard, in October and has suspended two admirals, Vice Adm. Ted “Twig” Branch and Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless. They have not been charged.

Haas, 45, did not immediately reply to emails seeking comment. The removal is likely a career-ending turnaround for the 1990 Naval Academy graduate, who has received six Meritorious Service Medals and the Combat Action Ribbon, among many other awards over a 23-year career.

Haas also spent two years as a staffer for Yokosuka-based 7th Fleet, a position he left in July. Misiewicz and Sanchez were also assigned to 7th Fleet, where Francis allegedly bribed them to feed him classified ship schedules, showing where the ships were headed, and urged them to redirect ships to his chosen port.

Haas is also a top-flight triathlete, having completed the Ironman World Championships in 2009.

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