Korean executives charged with bid rigging at US military bases

Camp Humphreys is the largest US base in South Korea (Edward N Johnson/Public Domain)
Two South Korean contractors are being prosecuted by the US government on charges of rigging bids for work carried out on military bases in Korea.

Construction executives Hyun Ki Shin and Hyuk Jin Kwon were indicted by a federal grand jury in the Western District of Texas and will now face six counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to restrain trade.

According to the US Department of Justice, the two are alleged to have begun rigging bids since November 2018 to obtain millions of dollars in repair and maintenance work.

Jonathan Kanter, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, commented: “Bid rigging, price fixing and fraud are crimes. We will not stand by as criminals engage in illegal conduct to harm our military [installations] overseas.”

The charges followed an inquiry conducted by the Antitrust Division, the Army Criminal Investigations Division and the FBI.

Kwon is part owner of the company, which was not named in the indictment.

This action is the first in a continuing inquiry into bid rigging and price fixing for operation and maintenance work for US military installations in South Korea.

The maximum penalty for conspiracy to restrain trade is 10 years of imprisonment and a fine of $1m. For the wire fraud counts, Kwon and Shin face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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