By Alexandra Jaffe - 11/09/13 12:15 PM EST
Two United States admirals, including the Navy's top intelligence officer, were placed on temporary leave and stripped of their access to classified materials on Friday after being implicated in a widening probe into a Naval bribery scandal.
According to reports, Vice Adm. Ted “Twig” Branch, the service’s top intelligence officer, and Rear Adm. Bruce F. Loveless, the Navy’s director of intelligence operations, are being investigated for their ties to a Singapore-based defense contractor whose top executive was arrested under bribery charges.
It's unclear why Branch and Loveless are under investigation, though a Navy official told the Washington Post that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service found evidence of “personal misconduct” against the two.
They have not, however, been charged with a crime or service violation, and there's no indication they leaked classified information. The two retain their ranks as the probe continues.
According to the Washington Post, court documents allege that Francis used the information to defraud the Navy of more than $10 million. His firm was rewarded with new contracts valued up to $200 million in 2011.
Three other officers — two Navy commanders and a senior Naval Criminal Investigative Service — have also been arrested in the case.
Court documents reveal Francis bribed officers with female escorts and tickets to shows, like Lady Gaga's concert in Thailand, to extract information out of them.
Francis had been under suspicion for misconduct since 2005 but, prosecutors allege, he avoided arrest by bribing officers for information about Naval probes and audits.