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Former U.S. deputy nuclear commander reprimanded in gambling probe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. admiral who was fired last year as deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command, which oversees the military's nuclear arsenal, has been reprimanded and required to forfeit $4,000 in pay after a gambling probe, the Pentagon said on Monday.

Rear Admiral Timothy Giardina was found guilty of two counts under the Uniform Code of Military of Justice.

"The first count involved Giardina lying to an investigator," the Navy said in a statement. "The second related to circumstances surrounding Giardina's failure to turn in and subsequent use of gambling chips he claims to have found at a casino."

Giardina is believed to have used at least $1,500 in fake gambling chips while playing poker at a casino in Iowa, the Omaha World-Herald reported last year, quoting a local prosecutor.

He was relieved from his post last October as deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command during the investigation into gambling issues. He dropped in rank to a two-star from three-star admiral because of the loss of his command and reassigned to the office of the Navy Staff.

Strategic Command oversees everything from America's land-based nuclear missiles to space operations governing military satellites. It is located near Omaha, Nebraska.

Two days after Giardina's dismissal last year, Air Force Major General Michael Carey, who oversaw the U.S. arsenal of intercontinental missiles, was fired for personal misbehavior, which an inspector general report said involved allegations of drinking and carousing with women while he led a government delegation to Russia for talks on nuclear security.

(Reporting by Peter Cooney; Additional reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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