The US Justice Department has filed a complaint in the US against UK corporation the TI Group, according to New York lawyers Engel & McCarney.
By doing so the US Government has joined a 'whistleblowing action' first launched by an ex-employee of a TI Group subsidiary, Dowty Woodville Polymer.
The company allegedly overcharged the US Defense Department for components supplied for the USAF swing-wing fighters.
City firm Allen & Overy is acting for TI Group but has had little to go on because the substance of the complaint has not yet been made to the company.
No writ has yet been issued. The Justice Department has produced a 36-page indictment, based on the original 12-page document filed by the whistleblower, Jeffrey Thistlethwaite.
Thomas Engel, the New York attorney handling the claim, says service of the writ will be performed under the Hague Convention via the UK Government in the next few weeks.
The action against TI Group is understood to be under the False Claims Act. The Act was originally drafted at the end of the US civil war to prevent profiteering by the Union victors. Updated in the 1980s, it is now a whistleblower's charter.
Whistleblowers in the US can hope to get 15-25 per cent of any settlement, says Engel. His client's expectations will be in line with this, he says.
The case centres on contracts worth more than $52 million for 7,000 wing slot seals. TI Group continues to sell the seals.
TI Group is also instructing US defence contracting specialist attorneys, Crowell & Moring.