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Harbert Companies to Pay $47 Million to Settle Government Fraud Allegations

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)  announced that it has reached an agreement with Harbert Corporation, Harbert International, Inc., Bill Harbert International Constructions Inc., Harbert Construction Services (U.K.) Ltd. and Bilhar International Establishment (“Harbert” or Harbert Entities”) to settle allegations that they conspired to rig the bids on a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) funded construction contract in Cairo, Egypt, in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Harbert agreed to pay the United States $47 million to settle allegation that they submitted false claims, and caused others to submit false claims, to the USAID, according to the DOJ.


Harbert International Inc. was part of a joint venture that bid on, and was ultimately awarded, Contract 20A to build a sewer system.  U.S. authorities  alleged under the False Claims Act that various Harbert entities entered into agreements with other potential bidders on Contract 20A to ensure that the joint venture would win the bid. The United States contends that other potential bidders agreed to either not bid or bid intentionally high in return for a payoff. The United States previously obtained a judgment against Harbert Construction Services (U.K.) Ltd. and Bilhar International Establishment on these claims.


“This case demonstrates our endurance in the fight against corporations that attempt to defraud the government,” said Vincent H. Cohen Jr., Principal Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. “Two decades after a bid-rigging conspiracy corrupted a massive construction project in Egypt, we have obtained a $47 million settlement on behalf of the American taxpayer. Our resolve in this matter should serve as a warning to other contractors who are thinking about abusing the contracting process.”


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