Supply Chain Council of European Union |

DOJ’s Scrutiny Of Antitrust Violations In US Government Procurement Picks Up Steam – Anti-trust/Competition Law

United States:

DOJ’s Scrutiny Of Antitrust Violations In US Government Procurement Picks Up Steam

To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on

On June 25, 2021, the Antitrust Division of the US Department of
Justice (“DOJ”) announced that
Belgian security firm G4S Secure Solutions NV (“G4S”) had
agreed to plead guilty to violations of the Sherman Act for
conspiring to rig bids and fix prices of contracts to provide
security services to US and NATO military installations in Belgium.
If the plea agreement is accepted by the court, G4S will pay a $15
million criminal fine. Belgian security firm Seris Security NV
(“Seris”), three Seris executives and the former CEO of
G4S were indicted a few days later.

G4S’s plea agreement and the indictment of Seris Security
and its executives are the highest-profile steps taken by the
DOJ’s Procurement Collusion Strike Force (“PCSF”).
The PCSF is a multi-agency effort formed by the DOJ in 2019 to stop
collusion and bid rigging in government procurement and is the most
recent version of similar strike forces formed over the past 30
years that have had the same goal. The PCSF is charged with
focusing on detecting, investigating and prosecuting antitrust
crimes related to federal procurement contracts, grants and
government program funding. It brings significant prosecutorial
firepower to bear—including the resources of the Antitrust
Division, five criminal enforcement sections of the DOJ, over 20 US
Attorney’s Offices, the FBI and federal inspectors general.

PCSF’s indictments and plea agreements likely will not end
with G4S and Seris. Public sources indicate that the PCSF has
nearly 20 active grand jury investigations. Moreover, a significant
aspect of the PCSF’s mission is training procurement officials,
auditors and data analysts to detect potential

Finally, the PCSF has significant tools for developing
investigative leads, including:

  • The Antitrust Division’s Corporate Leniency Program, which
    provides that if a party is the first to inform the government of
    an antitrust violation and fully cooperates with the investigation,
    it will not have to plead guilty or face indictment;

  • Whistleblower protections that prohibit employers from taking
    steps to punish antitrust whistleblowers;

  • Large quantities of US government procurement data that can be
    monitored for “red flags” of collusion, such as
    incumbents always winning bids, a sudden increase in bid pricing,
    bids that are much higher than estimates, regular suppliers
    refusing to submit bids, bidders taking turns winning and winning
    bidders frequently subcontracting with losing bidders.

Antitrust charges carry significant penalties. Corporations
found guilty of antitrust violations, such as price fixing and bid
rigging, can be fined up to $100 million or twice the total loss
caused by the violation. And, significantly for government
contractors, antitrust violations can lead to suspension and
debarment proceedings. Executives found to have participated in
antitrust violations are subject to up to $1 million in criminal
fines and up to 10 years in prison. Finally, companies that are
publicly charged with having committed antitrust violations can
expect to face related civil litigation (and treble damage claims)
based on False Claims Act and other antitrust theories of

This recent enforcement activity is a reminder that all
companies that do business with the US government, whether in the
United States or abroad, are at risk for increased criminal
antitrust scrutiny.

Visit us at

Mayer Brown is a global legal services provider
comprising legal practices that are separate entities (the
“Mayer Brown Practices”). The Mayer Brown Practices are:
Mayer Brown LLP and Mayer Brown Europe – Brussels LLP, both limited
liability partnerships established in Illinois USA; Mayer Brown
International LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in
England and Wales (authorized and regulated by the Solicitors
Regulation Authority and registered in England and Wales number OC
303359); Mayer Brown, a SELAS established in France; Mayer Brown
JSM, a Hong Kong partnership and its associated entities in Asia;
and Tauil & Chequer Advogados, a Brazilian law partnership with
which Mayer Brown is associated. “Mayer Brown” and the
Mayer Brown logo are the trademarks of the Mayer Brown Practices in
their respective jurisdictions.

© Copyright 2020. The Mayer Brown Practices. All rights

Mayer Brown
article provides information and comments on legal
issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a
comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not
intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific
legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters
discussed herein.

POPULAR ARTICLES ON: Anti-trust/Competition Law from United States

Merger Control Comparative Guide

Talwar Thakore & Associates

Merger Control Comparative Guide for the jurisdiction of India, check out our comparative guides section to compare across multiple countries

Related posts

Centre extends Maha”s maize procurement target


Box Shrink Wrapping Machine Market Growth Outlook, Key Procurement Criteria and Geographical Analysis by 2026| CAM Packaging, SMI Pack, Marchesini Group, Hugo Beck, Plexpack – Eurowire


CIPS: Digitalisation in Procurement and Supply 2019 | Procurement