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By Tom Arnold
DUBAI, May 24 (Reuters) - Kuwait’s Agility, one of the largest Gulf logistics companies, said it would be able to bid again for new United States government work after settling a criminal case involving food-supply contracts to the U.S. military between 2003 to 2010.
Agility was the largest supplier to the U.S. army in the Middle East during the war in Iraq but was later accused of defrauding the military on multibillion-dollar supply contracts.
A criminal suit, first filed in November 2009, led Agility to be replaced as the main Middle East supplier to U.S. forces and the firm was barred from bidding for any new U.S. contracts while the court case was pending.
In a statement on Wednesday, Agility said it had agreed to plead to a misdemeanour in connection with a single invoice valued at $551. The misdemeanour was unrelated to any of the original criminal charges, requiring Agility to pay a maximum of $551 in restitution, but no criminal fine, it said.
Agreement to settle was conditional upon Agility signing a separate agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice resolving the pending civil case against the company, it said, adding that any deal would be subject to final district court approval.
Once finalised, a settlement will resolve all outstanding criminal issues with the U.S. government in connection with the prime vendor contracts for Agility, its affiliates, employees, directors and officers, it said.
Civil proceedings with the U.S. Department of Justice in connection with the contracts remain pending, it added.
At one stage, the contracts accounted for around 40 percent of Agility’s revenues and also provided it with a 30 percent margin, analysts estimated at the time.
Separately, Agility said it had settled agreements with the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency resolving pending and potential administrative claims between Agility and DLA involving the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, and resolving Agility’s suspension from federal government contracting.
The agreements were conditional upon Agility signing a further settlement deal with the U.S. Department of Justice resolving a pending civil case.
Once effective, the agreements will allow Agility to pursue new U.S. government contracts, it said, with the removal of Agility and its subsidiaries from the list of suspended companies on its System for Award Management within 60 days. (Editing by David Evans)