Corporate owner of Starkist Tuna charged with violating False Claims Act

A whistleblower has filed suit on behalf of the United States of America charging Dongwon Industries, South Korea’s largest fishing company and owner of Starkist Tuna, of defrauding the U.S.

The Complaint alleges that a former Dongwon exec used his daughters’ acquired U.S. citizenship to create paper companies in the state of Delaware to obtain U.S. vessel documentation for Korean owned ships. This allowed the company to obtain fishing licenses reserved only to US registered vessels. US taxpayers pay $18 million per year for these licenses.

The lawsuit also charges that Dongwon failed to report oil discharge and dumping at sea.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers