Maersk Line, and Maersk Line Limited, the world’s biggest container shipping firm, will pay the United States federal government $31.9 million in response to false claims allegations regarding cargo shipments to U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. The lawsuit was initially filed under whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
According to Maersk Attorney James Philbin, External reviews of the U.S Military contract with Maersk found several billing discrepancies in the execution of the contract. The U.S. government alleges that Maersk knowingly overcharged the Department of Defense when transporting thousands of containers to support U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. They also allege that Maersk instituted excessive detention fees.
Melinda Haag, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California, is optimistic about the settlement and says it should “send a strong signal that the government is committed to safeguarding taxpayer funds by ensuring that contractors operate ethically and responsibly.” Ideally, this settlement will encourage more people to come forward under whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act.