The United States will seek civil damages from Boeing Co. to cover the cost of switching satellite launch providers amid the company's alleged theft of a rival's documents to win a military contract, the Wall Street Journal said on Thursday.
The newspaper, citing people familiar with the government's strategy, said the Chicago-based aerospace company could face civil claims of least $170 million -- much of the cost of shifting certain launches to Lockheed Martin Corp. -- the competitor from whom the documents were taken, according to some internal Pentagon estimates, it said.
In May, the U.S. Justice Department said it launched a criminal and civil investigation into whether Boeing gathered sensitive documents of Lockheed in the late 1990s while bidding to make the rockets used to launch U.S. government satellites.
The Wall Street Journal said that the U.S. Attorney's office is also advancing a criminal investigation of Boeing for alleged theft of trade secrets. Federal officials have added more investigators in recent weeks and boosted efforts to speak with current and former employees, the paper said, citing people familiar with the investigation.
The Justice Department and Boeing could not immediately be reached for comment.