Former FED employee pleads guilty to Humphreys leak
July 30, 2008
SEOUL — A former U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civilian employee faces up to five years in prison for leaking "sensitive" information in August 2006 to a multinational company bidding to get a contract to expand Camp Humphreys, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
David Honbo, 60, has pleaded guilty to giving the information, including confidential government evaluations, to a consultant who worked for a potential bidder for the contract.
He worked on a team responsible for awarding the multi-billion dollar contract for the massive expansion at Humphreys, a Department of Justice release said.
The release said Honbo, who now lives in Las Vegas, initially lied to Criminal Investigation Division agents about leaking the information. It did not name the company he gave the information to.
A spokesman for the Far East District Compound, home to the Corps in Seoul, was unable to comment about the case by deadline Monday.
Honbo will be sentenced Oct. 30 in U.S. District Court in Washington and could be fined as much as $250,000 in addition to jail time. Humphreys, a once-sleepy helicopter base, is scheduled to triple in size by 2012, when all military bases in and north of Seoul are scheduled to close. Approximately 17,000 troops, 4,700 U.S. civilian employees and 13,000 family members will live there.
Colorado-based CH2M Hill, a multinational engineering and construction firm, signed a contract for the Humphreys expansion last summer. The project is expected to cost nearly $12 billion and be completed by 2012, although some South Korean media reports have said the completion date could be delayed by as much as four years because of increased construction costs.
Another former FED employee, Yang Hwa-sok, was accused in February of accepting more than $70,000 in bribes in connection with the Humphreys expansion. South Korean prosecutors said Yang accepted the money from the Jingsung Development construction company between January and September 2007.
Prosecutors in Pyeongtaek were unable to provide additional information Monday about Yang’s case.
FED spokesman Joseph Campbell said in February that all FED employees attend mandatory annual ethics training. The eight-hour sessions are taught by the command’s legal counsel, he said.
Hwang Hae-rym contributed to this story.