Oldest Qui Tam Settled. It Took 25 Years to Investigate; 17 Years to Litigate

Harbert Corporation, Harbert International, Inc., Bill Harbert International Constructions Inc., Harbert Construction Services (U.K.) Ltd. and Bilhar International Establishment have agreed to pay the United States $47 million to settle claims that they submitted false claims, and caused others to submit false claims, to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Justice Department announced today.

The settlement resolves claims under the False Claims Act that the Harbert entities conspired to rig the bids on a USAID-funded construction contract that was bid and performed in Cairo, Egypt, in the late 1980s and early 1990s.   Harbert International Inc. was part of a joint venture that bid on, and was ultimately awarded, Contract 20A to build a sewer system.   The United States alleges 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.

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