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Novartis Joins The Repeat Offender Club – This Time Paying Approximately $347 Million To Resolve An FCPA Enforcement Action

Novartis

What happens when the Greek, Swiss, and South Korean subsidiaries of a Swiss company engage in improper conduct in Greece, Vietnam and South Korea? Why of course, approximately $345 million flows into the U.S. treasury.

Yesterday, Novartis joined the long and growing list of FCPA repeat offenders as the DOJ and SEC announced (see here and here) a combined approximate $347 million enforcement action. (As highlighted in this prior post, in 2016 Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis coughed up $25 million to resolve a SEC FCPA enforcement action focused on the conduct of its indirect Chinese subsidiaries).

Yesterday’s enforcement action included a DOJ component (in which the company agreed to pay approximately $234 million) and a SEC component (in which the company agreed to pay approximately $113 million).

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Foreign Official Reports Attempted Briber Leading To Enforcement Action

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[This post is part of a periodic series regarding “old” FCPA enforcement actions]

The 2006 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action against Faheem Mousa Salam had an unusual origin in that the foreign official Salam attempted to bribe – a senior Iraqi police official – reported the conduct to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR). The police official then became a confidential informant leading to an undercover operation by SIGIR with an agent posing as a Procurement Officer for the Civilian Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT – a multinational organization tasked with training, mentoring and equipping the Iraq Police Force and responsible for ordering and supplying materials to the Iraqi Police Force).

The enforcement action is also notable in that Salam was prosecuted, plead guilty, and was sentenced to three years in prison for offering the bribe.

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Citgo Employees As Foreign Officials

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In this 2009 post, the issue was raised whether the DOJ’s “foreign official” interpretation would become so broad that employees of Citgo Petroleum (a Delaware corporation with headquarters in Houston) would be considered “foreign officials” under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act because Citgo is a subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA).

In this little noticed FCPA enforcement from February 2020 against Tulio Anibal Farias-Perez in the sprawling PDVSA related actions, the DOJ did allege this theory of prosecution.

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Commission Payments To Chinese Lab Personnel And Doctors Leads To Enforcement Action

DPC

[This post is part of a periodic series regarding “old” FCPA enforcement actions]

In 2005,  the DOJ and SEC brought a coordinated enforcement action against Diagnostic Products Corp. (DPC – a California-based company which provided immunodiagnostic systems and immunochemistry kits) and its wholly-owned subsidiary DPC (Tianjin) Co. Ltd. (See here and here).

The conduct at issue focused on DPC Tianjin making cash commission payments to laboratory personnel and doctors employed by hospitals owned by the Chinese government to obtain and retain certain business involving the sale of immunodiagnostic systems, immunochemistry kits, and other medical equipment.

The overall settlement amount was approximately $4.8 million (a $2 million criminal fine and approximately $2.8 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest paid to the SEC).

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The DOJ’s First FCPA DPA Involved Monsanto

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[This post is part of a periodic series regarding “old” FCPA enforcement actions]

In early January 2005, the DOJ used a deferred prosecution agreement for the first time to resolve a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action. The “guinea pig” was Monsanto.

This post highlights the DOJ and parallel SEC enforcement action against the company (aggregate settlement amount of $1.5 million) based on conduct in Indonesia.

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