A NEW indictment unsealed in San Diego, California on Tuesday, March 14, added nine high-ranking U.S. Navy officials, including retired Admiral Bruce Loveless, in connection with the so-called “Fat Leonard” bribery scandal.
The latest federal indictment charged Loveless, four retired Navy captains, a Marine colonel and three others of taking bribes – in the forms of sex parties with prostitutes, extravagant dinners, and luxury travel – in exchange for trading military secrets.
“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,” Acting U.S. Attorney Alana Robinson said in a statement.
The indictment claims that the defendants helped former Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA) chief executive Leonard Glenn Francis, also nicknamed as “Fat Leonard,” to pull off a colossal fraud that cost the U.S. government tens of millions of dollars by overcharging food, water, fuel and other supplies.
The Navy officers were facing cases of bribery, conspiracy to commit bribery, honest services fraud and obstruction of justice and making false statements to federal investigators when confronted about their actions.
“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,” Robinson added.
The indictment mentioned two Philippine hotels as the settings for the wild sex parties, citing Manila Hotel’s MacArthur Suite and Shangri-La hotel.
It said that Francis hosted and paid for a lavish party and the services of prostitutes in the MacArthur Suite of the Manila Hotel, during a port call to the Philippines by the USS Blue Ridge in 2007.
The Navy officers also allegedly even used historic MacArthur memorabilia in their sex acts.
In 2008, it said Francis hosted a “raging multi-day party, with a rotating carousel of prostitutes in attendance, during which the conspirators drank all of the Dom Perignon available” at the Shangri-La hotel in 2008.
Following the release of the indictment, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan called on Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to kick-out the U.S. troops out of the country.
“U.S. troops are bad news for the Philippines. They have no qualms violating domestic laws. Duterte must act now and kick U.S. troops out of the Philippines,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes told Philstar.
According to Reyes, the recent “debauchery and other foul acts” in the scandal should “raise alarm bells for the Philippine government.”
Reyes said that the Philippines should also scrap its military agreements and war exercises with the United States, citing the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA). (Dana Sioson / AJPress)