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By Jonah Bennett
The Department of Justice has arrested and indicted retired Navy Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless and eight other Navy officers for allegedly accepting prostitutes, wild parties and other bribes in exchange for divulging classified info to a defense contractor.
The indictment alleges that Loveless and other officers received bribes and in turn helped out defense contractor Leonard Francis and his Singapore-based company Glenn Defense Marine Asia, according to a Department of Justice press release issued Tuesday.
Francis poured money into wild sex parties on the USS Blue Ridge. In one particularly egregious case of excess, five Navy officers during a port visit in 2008 ran through numerous prostitutes at the Shangri-La Hotel. Francis covered the $50,000 worth of expenses, which allegedly included a bill for the hotel’s entire supply of Dom Perignon.
In a separate port visit in 2007, Francis apparently hosted another sex party, in which the officers, at the MacArthur Suite of the Manila hotel, used “historical memorabilia related to General Douglas MacArthur…in sexual acts.”
Officers part of the conspiracy worked together to recruit new members and used fake names and foreign email service providers.
With the undue advantage, Francis managed to over-charge the Navy by $35 million for food, water, fuel and other items.
So far, 25 people have been charged in connection with the Fat Leonard case, and 20 of those people are former or current Navy officers. The other five are executives of Glenn Defense Marine Asia.
Authorities arrested the nine defendants Tuesday morning across the country in Virginia, California, Texas and other states.
“This is a fleecing and betrayal of the United States Navy in epic proportions, and it was allegedly carried out by the Navy’s highest-ranking officers,” said acting U.S. Attorney Robinson in a statement. “The alleged conduct amounts to a staggering degree of corruption by the most prominent leaders of the Seventh Fleet – the largest fleet in the U.S. Navy – actively worked together as a team to trade secrets for sex, serving the interests of a greedy foreign defense contractor, and not those of their own country.”
Until proven guilty, the defendants are presumed innocent.