Smith & Nephew FCPA Violation
Securities and Exchange Commission today announced a settlement with Smith & Nephew PLC to resolve SEC charges that the global medical device company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) when its subsidiaries bribed public doctors in Greece for more than a decade. Smith & Nephew PLC, headquartered in London, England, is a global medical device company with operations around the world.
The SEC alleges that, from 1997 to June 2008, two of Smith &Nephew PLC’s subsidiaries, including its U.S. subsidiary, Smith & Nephew Inc., used a distributor to create a slush fund to make illicit payments to public doctors employed by government hospitals or agencies in Greece. Smith &Nephew PLC agreed to settle the SEC’s charges by paying more than $5.4 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest. Smith &Nephew PLC’s U.S. subsidiary, Smith & Nephew Inc., agreed to pay a $16.8 million fine to settle parallel criminal charges announced by the U.S. Department of Justice today.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that, starting in 1997, Smith &Nephew PLC’s subsidiaries developed a scheme to create an offshore fund to pay Greek public doctors to purchase products from two Smith &Nephew PLC subsidiaries, Smith & Nephew Inc. and Smith & Nephew GmbH. According to the complaint, Smith &Nephew PLC’s subsidiaries made payments to a total of three shell entities in the United Kingdom controlled by the distributor that were used to pay bribes. The complaint alleges that on paper, it appeared as if Smith &Nephew PLC’s subsidiaries were paying for marketing services, but no services were actually performed. The complaint also alleges that Smith &Nephew PLC failed to act on numerous red flags of bribery and that employees at Smith &Nephew PLC and its subsidiaries were aware of the payments.