Nightly News   |  November 09, 2013

Did Navy officers accept bribes?

Officials are investigating whether high-ranking Navy officials accepted bribes like Lady Gaga tickets from a Singapore-based business man. NBC’s Kristen Welker reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> two high ranking u.s. navy officers are under investigation in a widening bribery scandal. nbc's kristen welker has the story for us tonight.

>> reporter: two high ranking naval officers , vice admiral ted branch and rear admiral bruce loveless, the director of intelligence operations , have had their access to classified information suspended and have been placed on temporary leave. in a statement, the navy says the decision was in connection with an ongoing naval criminal investigative service investigation into illegal and improper relations with leonard francis . leonard francis , known as fat leonard , owns a singapore based company that provides dockside service to navy warships. federal prosecutors have accused him of bribing navy officials. he allegedly showered them with cash, prostitutes and lady gaga tickets in exchange for business. vice admiral terry mcknight never met francis but said the businessman is well known.

>> he's bigger than life. comes across as, i can help you out. it appears he's done more than just try to help us out.

>> reporter: navy commander michael misiewicz was charged with accepting bribes. commander jose sanchez was accused of accepting money and a navy criminal investigator was accused of providing francis with details about the navy's investigation. they have all pleaded not guilty. the navy said there is no indication there was a breach of classified information by the two admirals. how concerned are you that u.s. secrets were given to a businessman?

>> i think what we are dealing with here is corruption and money, not treason or intelligence.

>> reporter: the navy emphasizes the two admirals are just facing allegations. they haven't been charged with a crime or violation. they still retain their rank and security clearances. lester?