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U.S. Navy official to plead guilty in contracting scandal:report

By Marty Graham

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent accused of leaking confidential information to a Singapore-based company at the heart of a Navy contracting scandal is scheduled to plead guilty in federal court next week, California media reported.

NCIS agent John Beliveau is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and pleaded not guilty to the charge earlier this year.

Beliveau's attorney, Jan Ronis, told reporters on Thursday that his client would plead guilty on Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets. A representative for Ronis did not return calls seeking comment on Friday.

A court calendar indicates Beliveau is scheduled to change his plea in U.S. District Court in San Diego on Tuesday. The court calendar and documents indicate a change-of-plea hearing was requested by prosecutors. Federal prosecutors declined to comment on the hearing.

Beliveau is accused of accepting money, travel and hotel costs for several trips to Thailand and Indonesia, where he enjoyed the company of prostitutes provided by Glenn Defense Marine Asia, according to charging documents.

In return, according to the criminal complaint, Beliveau accessed confidential NCIS files dozens of times over two years and provided Glenn Defense Marine Asia's owner with inside information on Navy fraud investigations into the company.

With a guilty plea, Beliveau would be the first to be convicted among four people charged in the bribery scandal centered on U.S. Navy contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars in maintenance and restocking for U.S. ships in the Pacific Fleet.

The investigation has resulted in conspiracy charges against Leonard Glenn Francis, a Malaysian citizen and owner of Singapore-based Glenn Defense Marine Asia, and Navy commanders Jose Luis Sanchez and Michael Misiewicz.

The most senior officers affected by the probe so far are Vice Admiral Ted Branch, the director of Naval Intelligence, and Rear Admiral Bruce Loveless, the director of Intelligence Operations. Their access to classified information was suspended last month and they were put on temporary leave due to allegations of "inappropriate conduct."

No charges have been filed against them. Francis, 49, who has pleaded not guilty, is in federal custody in San Diego.

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by Christopher Wilson)

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