Three South Korean Companies to Pay $236 Million, Resolving Civil and Criminal Liability for Bid Rigging Alleged in Constantine Cannon Whistleblower Suit
The Justice Department announced that SK Energy Co. Ltd., GS Caltex Corporation, and Hanjin Transportation Co. Ltd. collectively agreed to pay $236 million for their respective roles in a decade-long conspiracy to rig bids and fix prices, thereby overcharging the U.S. Government on contracts to supply fuel to U.S. military bases throughout South Korea. The deal resolves False Claims Act allegations against the three South Korea-based companies brought by a Constantine Cannon whistleblower client.
The government continues to investigate additional co-conspirators. “Due to the fact that the case remains under seal, our discussion of the specifics of the investigation will be limited at this time,” said Constantine Cannon partner Eric Havian. “We can confirm that our client, the anonymous whistleblower, was integral to exposing what is now the largest-ever False Claims Act antitrust recovery. This long-running conspiracy also marks the largest False Claims Act settlement involving bid rigging.”
In addition to the False Claims Act suit, the settlement resolves criminal conspiracy charges and civil antitrust claims against the three defendants for the illegal bid rigging and price fixing.
Havian explained, “Our client chose our firm because of our unique mix of whistleblower, antitrust, and litigation experience. We can discuss the case on a limited basis at this time, and will continue to inform the public of the remarkable facts of this groundbreaking case when they are unsealed at a later date.”
In a press release, the Justice Department said “the United States Department of Defense paid substantially more for fuel supply services in South Korea than it would have had SK Energy, GS Caltex, and Hanjin competed for the fuel supply contracts.”
“This settlement reinforces that the American justice system is a strong check on corruption around the world,” Havian said.
- UPDATE March 2019: DOJ Settles with Two Additional Defendants in Ongoing Bid Rigging Investigation
- Government Contract Fraud
- The False Claims Act
- DOJ Enforcement Actions
- The Constantine Cannon Whistleblower Team