2 S. Korean Firms Plead Guilty of Overcharging Pentagon for Fuel
21 March 2019, 02:53
Two South Korean energy companies have agreed to plead guilty and pay $75 million in fines for rigging bids for contracts to supply fuel to the Pentagon, VOA news reports.
The U.S. Justice Department unsealed the indictment Wednesday.
Hyundai Oilbank, S-Oil Corp. and seven individuals were charged with conspiring to defraud the U.S. government by “impairing, obstructing and defeating the lawful function of the procurement process for the fuel supply contracts.”
One of the seven was also indicted for alleged witness tampering for threatening those trying to cooperate with the investigation.
“Illegal bid-rigging schemes violate fundamental tenets of government contracting and lead to inflated charges and costs to the government,” Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt said.
Because of the action of the companies and the seven suspects, the Pentagon paid “substantially more” for fuel supplies in South Korea than it would have if the bidding for contracts had not been rigged, the indictment says.
The two companies agreed to plead guilty, while the seven individuals charged have not yet entered pleas. All seven face up to 10 years in federal prison and as much as $1 million in fines if convicted.
Three other South Korean energy companies pleaded guilty and were fined $236 million in November for their part in bid rigging.