Major US Defense Contractors Face Justice for Bribery and Bid Fixing

Published: 22 October 2021

navyNavy destroyers underway in the Arabian Gulf.(Official U.S. Navy Page, flickr,license)

By David Klein

The CEO of a major defense contractor who has been charged with bribery and arrested in Malta, arrived in the U.S. to face trial, while two former executives of another pleaded guilty to rigging bids, the U.S. Department of Justice revealed in two separate statements on Monday.   

Frank S. Rafaraci, the CEO of Multinational Logistics Services (MLS) allegedly bribed Navy officers so that his ship husbandry service would receive contracts worth some US$1.3 billion to refuel and restock Navy vessels worldwide. 

“Rafaraci’s alleged long-running criminal scheme to defraud the Federal government through bribery, falsified invoices, and money laundering cheated the U.S. taxpayer and wasted tremendously valuable resources,” said Eric Maddox, Special Agent in Charge of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Economic Crimes Field Office. 

If convicted, Rafaraci could face up to 15 years in Prison. 

Meanwhile, two Belgian nationals, Bart Verbeeck, former Director of Sales, and Robby Van Mele, former Director of Operations, of G4S Secure Solutions NV - a company that provides security and logistics services - pleaded guilty to antitrust charges related to a price fixing scheme that G4s was involved in. 

The two “admitted that they, with their co-conspirators at competing firms, colluded to allocate security services contracts and to fix the prices at which the firms bid for contracts,” the DoJ said. 

Those contracts included guarding, mobile monitoring and surveillance services for the U.S. military and other NATO members. 

Earlier this year, the Belgian company as whole pleaded guilty to a criminal antitrust conspiracy and agreed to pay a $15 million fine. 

“These individual guilty pleas, which follow the sentencing of G4S NV, demonstrate the division’s commitment to the vigorous enforcement of antitrust laws,” said Richard A. Powers, Acting Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.

The two could face up to 10 years in prison and $1 million fines each.

“This result is an important step in enforcing the integrity of the government procurement process,” said Frank Robey, Director of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division’s Major Procurement Fraud Unit.

Other G4S officials were also indicted and continue to face trial, the DoJ said.