The Navy has suspended access to classified materials for two admirals now added to the list of naval officers entangled in a bribery scandal, according to news reports.
Vice Adm. Ted Branch, director of naval intelligence, and Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, director of intelligence operations, were stripped of their classified access, the Navy’s chief spokesman said in a statement, the Union Tribune in San Diego reported
The Navy said the two admirals are being investigated for "illegal and improper relations" with Leonard Francis, a Singapore-based businessman who appeared Friday in federal court in San Diego, the NBC News news affiliate
in San Diego reported.
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Francis, known in Singapore as "Fat Leonard," is accused of bribing Navy Commanders Mark Vannak Khem Misiewicz and Jose Luiz Sanchez with plane tickets, prostitutes and concert tickets in return for classified information about the movement of Navy ships, the station reported.
The defendants allegedly arranged to have those ships dock at Asian ports controlled by “Fat Leonard,” who allegedly over-charged the Navy for fuel, food and other services.
Prosecutors say the alleged fraud cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
A fourth defendant in that case, John Beliveau, is an agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service who allegedly provided Francis with internal documents about the bribery investigation.
Admirals Loveless and Branch have not been criminally charged in this case, but their involvement boosts the scandal to the highest ranks of the Navy, the Union Tribune reported.
The Navy didn’t say why the two are being investigated, just that their alleged incidents occurred before they became admirals, it reported.
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