South Korean construction execs charged with massive fraud against US Army

The US Department of Justice has accused two employees of Korean contractor SK Engineering & Construction of bribing an unnamed US government official to obtain hundreds of millions of dollars of construction work on a US army base in South Korea.

The two have been charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the US and to commit wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

Hyeong-won Lee, 58, and Dong-Guel Lee, 48, are alleged to have created fake subcontracts to disguise millions of dollars in kickbacks to the official, who then had steered two Camp Humphreys construction contracts to SK.

They are also accused of obstructing the investigation into the contracts by ordering SK employees to burn documents related to the fake subcontracts and by trying to convince witnesses not to testify in the matter.

Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski commented: "Hyeong-won Lee and Dong-Guel Lee allegedly submitted fraudulent construction subcontracts to disguise millions in kickback payments to a public official and then tried to cover their tracks. The Department of Justice is dedicated to protecting taxpayer dollars by safeguarding the integrity of government contracts and construction projects that support our US military and civilian personnel, wherever they serve around the world."

Hyeong-won Lee was also charged with two counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering conspiracy, and Dong-Guel Lee was charged with one count of witness tampering in relation to a wide-ranging bribery and fraud scheme from 2008 to 2017. The defendants are not related.

Camp Humphreys covers 1,210 acres and is the US’ largest overseas military base, housing about 500 buildings near the northwestern city of Pyeongtaek.

Image: Camp Humphreys in South Korea (Edward Johnson/US Army)

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