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Corrupt US navy officers used MacArthur’s iconic pipe as sex toy during orgy



Memorabilia kept at the Manila Hotel’s MacArthur Suite includes one of his iconic corn cob pipes

A retired rear-admiral and eight other US naval officers have been charged with trading classified information for sex, stays at luxury hotels and lavish meals worth thousands of dollars.

The officers are accused of corruption and accepting bribes including the services of prostitutes from “Fat” Leonard Francis, a defence contractor based in Singapore, in exchange for information that helped his business interests.

Francis, who has pleaded guilty to fraud, was said to have provided officers with £20,000 watches and £1,500 bottles of cognac.

On one occasion in February 2007, officers of the USS Blue Bridge attended a party at the MacArthur Suite of the Manila Hotel in the Philippines, where General Douglas MacArthur, former chief of staff of the US army, lived during the 1930s.

During the alleged orgy, the men used historical memorabilia related to the legendary general as sex toys on prostitutes.

A total of 25 military officers and private-sector executives have now been prosecuted in one of the worst corruption scandals to hit the military in years. To date, 13 have pleaded guilty while several other cases are pending.

The latest indictment lists page after page of bribes allegedly taken 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.

The orgy in the Manila Hotel is just one of many mentioned in the indictment.

The MacArthur suite, where the legendary general lived through much of the 1930s

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

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

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

Federal agents fanned out across six states on Tuesday in a coordinated operation to arrest the defendants.

Bruce Loveless, a retired admiral, was arrested at his home in Coronado, California. The Navy had announced in November 2013 that he was under scrutiny by the Justice Department and suspended his access to classified material.

Navy officials have said that about 30 admirals are under investigation, although only a handful have been named publicly.

Robert Gilbeau, a one-star admiral, was convicted last June after he pleaded guilty to making false statements to investigators about his contacts with Francis. He has since retired. He is scheduled to be sentenced next month in federal court.

Separately, the Navy has censured or disciplined three admirals for ethics violations after they accepted lavish meals and other gifts from Francis.

The case is being prosecuted by the US attorney’s office in San Diego with the assistance of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the Defence Criminal Investigative Service.

“This is a fleecing and betrayal of the United States Navy in epic proportions,” said Alana W Robinson, the acting US attorney for the Southern District of California. She said the defendants “worked together as a team to trade secrets for sex, serving the interests of a greedy foreign defence contractor and not those of their own country.”

The case is still unfolding and more than 200 people have already come under scrutiny.

The scandal is the worst corruption case in Navy history. Despite signs of fraud, the Navy continued to award business — worth $200 million in 2011 alone — to Francis’s company to resupply ships and submarines throughout Asia.

Francis pleaded guilty to corruption charges in a federal court in San Diego in January 2015. As part of a deal reached with federal prosecutors, Francis and his company will forfeit $35 million in property and other proceeds stemming from the corruption.