WASHINGTON - More discipline and possible charges will stem from the widening scandal involving a Malaysian defense contractor who allegedly bribed officers with prostitutes and showered them with gifts to steer business his way, a top Navy official said Monday.
The crimes and unethical behavior tarred high-ranking officials Friday when the Navy announced that a three-star admiral and his two-star subordinate had their access to classified information suspended for their suspected connection to Leonard Francis, the chief of Glenn Defense Marine Asia.
They probably won't be the last, Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Navy's top spokesman, said Monday.
"We are going to let the facts take us where they may," Kirby said. "We certainly expect that other naval officers, and perhaps even some Navy civilians, will be implicated."
Federal prosecutors say the scheme involved Navy officers providing Francis with classified information about ship movements in southeast Asia. Francis allegedly used the information to win and maintain Navy business. The company allegedly overcharged the Navy and submitted bogus invoices for millions of dollars.
Glenn Defense, based in Singapore, provides hundreds of millions of dollars of services to the Navy throughout the Pacific. It supplies food, water, fuel, tugboats, security, transportation, trash and sewage disposal to ships and submarines.
Social media posts, texts and e-mails provide damning and embarrassing details about the case. U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jose Sanchez, 41, asked Francis in October 2009 for photos of the prostitutes the latter was to provide Sanchez as "motivation," according to the Justice Department.
"Yummy ... daddy like," Sanchez purportedly sent in a Facebook message to Francis. Sanchez called Francis the "Lion King" and "Boss" in his e-mails, while Francis referred to Sanchez as "brudda," according to prosecutors.
Among the officers and officials netted in the scandal:
•Vice Adm. Ted Branch, director of Naval Intelligence, and Rear Adm. Bruce Loveless, director of intelligence operations, were put on temporary leave and had their access to classified information revoked Friday. Branch and Loveless were suspended for issues related to the Glenn Defense case, although the Navy has not specified those issues.There is no indication that they divulged classified information. Branch and Loveless, both based at the Pentagon, had served earlier in their careers in the Pacific.
The Navy did not describe the allegations against the admirals but said they related to the Glenn Defense Marine scandal. They were suspended because of the sensitive nature of their jobs.
•Sanchez was charged last week with accepting prostitutes, luxury travel and $100,000 cash from Francis in exchange for classified information, including ship's schedules. In 2011, prosecutors say, Sanchez arranged to have Glenn Defense refuel a ship in Thailand, bypassing a cheaper option and doubling the cost to $1 million.
•Cmdr. Michael Vannak Khem Misiewicz, 46, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service Supervisory Special Agent John Bertrand Beliveau, 44, have been charged in connection with bribery allegations. Beliveau has been charged with tipping off Francis about the investigation.
Francis, 49, remains in custody in San Diego where he was lured by investigators. They convinced him to travel there in September for a business meeting and arrested him.