Smith & Nephew to pay 22 million to settle Greek bribery case
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Ministry of Justice alleged the British company bribed Greek doctors for almost ten years to buy its products
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Ministry of Justice alleged the British company bribed Greek doctors for almost ten years to buy its products.
Smith & Nephew said it had reported evidence of improper payments by a distributor in Greece whose contract had been terminated in 2008. Smith & Nephew was fined to pay more than $22 million. The SEC claimed Smith & Nephew and its subsidiaries used a distributor to create a slush fund to make illicit payments to Government employed doctors. The scheme involved making payments to three shell companies in the UK. The funds were used to pay bribes to the Greek doctors in return for buying its orthopaedic products which included hip replacement.
A SEC complaint filed in Washington said it appeared company subsidiaries were paying for marketing services but none was performed. Kara Novaco Brockmeyer, head of the SEC's foreign corrupt practices unit said: "Smith & Nephew's subsidiaries chose a path of corruption rather than fair and honest competition." The SEC maintained the company had ignored numerous "red flags" of bribery payments from employees.
Smith & Nephew had agreed to pay the fines without admitting or denying the allegations said the SEC. The company has made provisions to cover the fines and appoint an independent monitor to review a compliance programme. Additionally the British drugs giants GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca have both revealed that they are under investigation for suspected breaches of the Act, and last year the US firm Johnson & Johnson paid $70m to settle claims that it paid doctors in Greece, Romania and Poland in return for them agreeing to use its surgical implants in hospital procedures.
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