Security firm accused of rigging bids for defence contracts

1 July 2021

A Belgian security services company has been indicted for rigging bids on US Department of Defense contracts.

A federal grand jury indicted Belgium-based Seris Security NV (Seris) and three executives for their roles in an alleged conspiracy to fix prices, rig bids and allocate customers for defense-related security services.

This includes a multimillion-dollar contract issued last year to provide security services to the US Department of Defense for military bases and installations in Belgium.

Richard A. Powers, acting assistant attorney general of the Department of Justice’s (DoJ) Antitrust Division, said: “The companies and individuals indicted are alleged to have rigged bids submitted to the US Department of Defense and others, and abused the public trust placed in them as providers of security services at critical locations.”

The conspirators agreed in advance which company would win certain security services contracts, and the price that each would bid for the contracts, it is alleged. According to the indictment, the conspiracy began as early as spring 2019 and continued until as late as summer 2020.

The indictment, obtained by the Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF), is the latest development in an investigation into an alleged international conspiracy. As part of the investigation G4S Secure Solutions NV pleaded guilty to bid rigging earlier this month. It was ordered to pay a fine of $15m.

The DoJ said the company would continue to cooperate in the ongoing investigation, and that the plea agreement was subject to court approval.

A G4S Belgium spokesperson said: “The unacceptable behaviour which led to the offences outlined in the plea agreement is completely against the company’s values and standards and is not tolerated anywhere within G4S. We have strengthened our policies, practices and controls to ensure that our business is always conducted in a manner which is consistent with our values.”

The DoJ created the PCSF in 2019 to combat antitrust crimes and related fraudulent schemes that impact government procurement and grant and programme funding at all levels of government.

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