G4S Secure Solutions NV (G4S), a Belgian security firm, has agreed to plead guilty for its role in a conspiracy to rig bids, allocate customers and fix prices for defense-related security services, including a multimillion-dollar contract issued in 2020 to provide security services to the U.S. Department of Defense for military bases and installations in Belgium. This is the first international resolution obtained by the Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF).
“The Procurement Collusion Strike Force is committed to safeguarding public procurement at home and abroad from collusion that cheats American taxpayers out of the benefits of competition for critical goods and services,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard A. Powers of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “The division, along with our law enforcement colleagues, will hold security services providers and their executives accountable for conduct that targeted contracts to secure Department of Defense bases and installations abroad.”
“The FBI is committed to rooting out corruption and fraud against the United States wherever it occurs,” said Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. of the FBI’s New York Field Office. “Today’s announcement demonstrates the strength of our collaborative efforts to investigate and prosecute anticompetitive, fraudulent conduct that harms U.S. taxpayers.”
“Today’s plea agreement demonstrates the continued focus of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) and its law enforcement partners on protecting the integrity of the military procurement process,” said Deputy Director Paul K. Sternal of DCIS. “DCIS is steadfast in its commitment to work with its law enforcement partners and the PCSF to hold defense contractors accountable for employing corrupt business practices that endanger the security and safety of our service members at home and abroad.”
“We will continue to pursue integrity in the contracting arena and work closely with the Department of Justice and other law enforcement agencies to prevent collusion and fraud, and bring those responsible to justice,” said Director Frank Robey of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit. “Protecting the military and the United States taxpayer is paramount.”
The charge filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleges that G4S participated in the conspiracy from spring 2019 through summer 2020. Between 2019 and 2020, G4S and its co-conspirators participated in a conspiracy to allocate security services contracts in Belgium among themselves and to determine the prices at which contracts would be bid. The contracts affected by the conspiracy include those for the U.S. Department of Defense and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Communications and Information Agency, which is funded in part by the United States.
In addition to agreeing to plead guilty, G4S has agreed to pay a criminal fine of $15 million. The company began cooperating with the United States in April 2020 and will continue to cooperate in the ongoing investigation. The plea agreement is subject to court approval.
The Antitrust Division’s New York Office is prosecuting the case, which was investigated with the assistance of the FBI’s International Corruption Unit New York Field Office, the DCIS’ New York Resident Agency and the Transnational Operations Field Office, the U.S. Army CID’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit, and other PCSF partners in Europe.
In November 2019, the Department of Justice created the PCSF, a joint law enforcement effort to combat antitrust crimes and related fraudulent schemes that impact government procurement, grant, and program funding at all levels of government – federal, state and local. In fall 2020, the Strike Force expanded its footprint with the launch of PCSF: Global, designed to deter, detect investigate and prosecute collusive schemes that target government spending outside of the United States.