The U.S. Navy has stripped two admirals of their security clearances in connection with a widening bribery scandal involving lucrative government contracts in Asia.
Vice Admiral Ted Branch, director of naval intelligence, and Rear Admiral Bruce Loveless, director of intelligence operations, were also put on temporary leave Friday as part of an ongoing investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS.
Three senior naval officers have already been arrested in the spreading corruption scandal involving millions of dollars in excess charges for refueling and supplying U.S. fleet ships in Asian ports.
Friday's action is the latest development in a sweeping probe of a massive over-billing scheme allegedly orchestrated by Singapore-based defense contractor Glen Defense Marine Asia (GDMA).
The investigation has so far led to the arrests of a senior agent for the NCIS and a Navy commander who captained a U.S. destroyer. Another commander ensnared in the probe was relieved of his ship's command last month in Japan.
Court records show GDMA chief executive Leonard Glenn Francis and another company official were arrested in September in San Diego after federal investigators lured them to the United States by arranging a sham meeting with Navy officials.
GDMA has serviced navies in Asia for a quarter century, and authorities say the company has been awarded U.S. contracts worth more than $200 million.