Korean companies pay $3.1 million to settle bid-rigging allegations

by Ben Vernia | May 22nd, 2022

On May 18, the Department of Justice announced that seven South Korean companies, contractors for construction and engineering on U.S. military bases in that country, had agreed to pay $3.1 million to settle civil allegations that the companies rigged bids on their contracts. According to DOJ’s press release:

Seven South Korea-based companies have agreed to pay $3.1 million to resolve allegations they violated the False Claims Act by engaging in a bid-rigging conspiracy that targeted U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) contracts for construction and engineering work on U.S. military bases in South Korea. The seven companies are Korea Engineering Consultants Corporation; Yul Lim Construction Co. Ltd.; Shin Woo Construction & Industrial Co. Ltd.; Seongbo Const. Ind. Co. Ltd.; Wooseok Construction Co. Ltd.; Yuil Engineering and Construction Co.; and Seokwang Development Co. Ltd. The companies have agreed to each pay an equal share of the settlement amount.

The United States alleged the seven companies conspired to suppress and eliminate competition during the bidding process on 15 USACE contracts awarded between 2016 and 2019. The United States further alleged that as a result of this anticompetitive conduct, the USACE paid substantially more for services performed under the contracts than it would have had there been competition among the bidders.   

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The case apparently arose from a government investigation, and not from a whistleblower’s lawsuit.

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