WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department says three South Korean companies have agreed to pay $236 million to settle allegations they were part of a bid-rigging scheme that overcharged the U.S. military for fuel at bases in South Korea.
Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim announced the settlement of the criminal and civil charges on Wednesday.
The three companies, SK Energy Co. Ltd., GS Caltex Corporation, and Hanjin Transportation Co. Ltd., will pay about $82 million in criminal fines. They'll also pay $154 million in civil damages.
Delrahim said investigators believe the three companies and others rigged bids and fixed prices for more than a decade.
He said the Defense Department paid "substantially more" for fuel because of the scheme.
One of the defendants, Hanjin, said in a statement that it was responsible for just a fraction of the overall penalty. The company said it was paying a $1.39 million criminal fine along with a $6.18 million civil settlement and was cooperating with an ongoing investigation into fuel supply contracts.
"HJT is committed to complying with the antitrust and competition laws and values its decades-long relationship with the U.S. military," the statement said.