Two companies pay big U.S. fines

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Two companies pay big U.S. fines

Two Korean companies have agreed to pay a total of $127 million for their involvement in a bid-rigging scheme in supplying fuel to U.S. military bases in the country, the Department of Justice said Wednesday.

Hyundai Oilbank and S-Oil - both petroleum and refinery companies - have been accused of involvement in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition during the bidding process for fuel supply contracts with U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force bases in South Korea, the department said in a statement.

They have agreed to plead guilty and pay a total of approximately $75 million in criminal fines and some $52 million in separate civil resolutions.

“These charges reflect the Antitrust Division’s commitment to prosecuting bid rigging and fraud - especially when those crimes directly target taxpayer dollars that fund the U.S. military’s critical work,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the department’s Antitrust Division.

“We will not waver in our dedication to prosecuting corporations and individuals, wherever they are located, that seek to profit at the expense of American taxpayers.”

The two companies are the latest to be charged in an ongoing investigation into the alleged bid rigging.

In November, three other South Korean oil companies - SK Energy, GS Caltex and Hanjin Transportation - agreed to pay a total of $236 million to settle charges.

The alleged scheme began at least in or around March 2005 and continued into 2016, the department said in November, adding that as a result of it, the Department of Defense paid “substantially more” for fuel services.

In the indictment unsealed on Wednesday, the Justice Department also charged seven South Korean citizens for involvement in the case.

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