Ad­mi­ral, 7 other of­fi­cials charged with cor­rup­tion

Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY’S TOP NEWS - By Craig Whit­lock Wash­ing­ton Post

The Jus­tice De­part­ment un­sealed a fresh in­dict­ment Tues­day charg­ing eight cur­rent and for­mer Navy of­fi­cials — in­clud­ing an ad­mi­ral — with cor­rup­tion and other crimes in the “Fat Leonard” bribery case, es­ca­lat­ing an epic scan­dal that has dogged the Navy for the past four years.

Among those charged were Rear Adm. Bruce Love­less, a se­nior Navy in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer based at the Pen­tagon, sev­eral Navy cap­tains and a re­tired colonel from the Marine Corps.

The charges cover a pe­riod of eight years, from 2006 through 2014.

The Navy per­son­nel are ac­cused of tak­ing bribes in the form of lav­ish gifts, pros­ti­tutes and lux­ury ho­tel stays cour­tesy of Leonard Glenn Fran­cis, a Sin­ga­pore-based de­fense con­trac­tor who has al­ready pleaded guilty to de­fraud­ing the Navy of tens of mil­lions of dol­lars.

The in­dict­ment lists page af­ter page of bribes al­legedly ac­cepted by the de­fen­dants — seven se­nior of­fi­cers and one en­listed sailor — in­clud­ing $25,000 watches, $2,000 boxes of Co­hiba cigars, $2,000 bot­tles of co­gnac and $600-per-night ho­tel rooms.

Ac­cord­ing to the charg­ing doc­u­ments, Fran­cis also fre­quently spon­sored wild sex par­ties for many of­fi­cers on the USS Blue Ridge, the flag­ship of the Navy’s 7th Fleet, and other war­ships.

Dur­ing a port visit by the Blue Ridge to Manila in May 2008, for ex­am­ple, five of the Navy of­fi­cers at­tended a “rag­ing multi-day party, with a ro­tat­ing carousel of pros­ti­tutes,” at the Shangri-La Ho­tel, ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment.

The group al­legedly drank the ho­tel’s en­tire sup­ply of Dom Perignon cham­pagne and rang up ex­penses ex­ceed­ing $50,000, which Fran­cis cov­ered in full.

On another port visit by the Blue Ridge to Manila in Fe­bru­ary 2007, Fran­cis al­legedly hosted another sex party for of­fi­cers in the MacArthur Suite of the Manila ho­tel. Dur­ing the party, “his­tor­i­cal mem­o­ra­bilia re­lated to Gen­eral Dou­glas MacArthur were used by the par­tic­i­pants in sex­ual acts,” ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment.

In ex­change, ac­cord­ing to fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors, the of­fi­cials pro­vided Fran­cis with clas­si­fied or in­side in­for­ma­tion that en­abled his firm, Glenn Marine De­fense Asia, to gouge the Navy out of tens of mil­lions of dol­lars.

In ad­di­tion to Love­less, oth­ers charged in the in­dict­ment are three re­tired cap­tains: David Laus­man, Don­ald Horn­beck and David New­land; an ac­tive-duty cap­tain, James Dolan; a re­tired Marine colonel, En­rico de Guz­man; an ac­tive-duty com­man­der, Stephen F. Shedd; and Robert Gor­such, a re­tired chief war­rant of­fi­cer. None could im­me­di­ately be reached for com­ment.

All were charged with of­fenses stem­ming from de­ploy­ments to Asia while they were as­signed to the 7th Fleet, based in Ja­pan. The de­fen­dants were ar­rested Tues­day in Cal­i­for­nia, Texas, Penn­syl­va­nia, Florida, Colorado and Vir­ginia.

U.S. NAVY

Rear Adm. Bruce Love­less among charged.

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