FILE - In this Thursday, April 18, 2019, file photo, a sign for the Department of Justice hangs in the press briefing room at the Justice Department, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

The U.S. Department of Justice has formed the Procurement Collusion Strike Force (PCSF) to lead a national response against antitrust crimes in government procurement and program funding at all levels.

The PCSF will be composed of investigators, attorneys and prosecutors from different government agencies. These include the Civil and Criminal Sections of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, 13 U.S. Attorney offices, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Defense’s Office of Inspector General.

The two main objectives of the PCSF are to deter and prevent antitrust and related crimes in government procurement through outreach and training and to identify and prosecute crimes through the collaboration of different law enforcement agencies.

The strike force will adopt the civil and criminal enforcement tools used by the Antitrust Division in 2018 to investigate and prosecute three South Korean companies involved in rigging bids for fuel supply contracts to American military bases in South Korea. The PCSF will use a district-based task organization model. Under this model, an Antitrust Division trial lawyer assigned in one district will be paired with a U.S. Attorney and an FBI Special Agent from that district.

The Antitrust Division advises companies to review their antitrust compliance programs to avoid substantial civil damages and criminal penalties for antitrust violations. It also suggests that companies should understand the Antitrust Division Leniency Program to avoid criminal fines, incarceration of executives and criminal convictions.

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