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Smith & Nephew Under FCPA Scrutiny … Again

smith and nephew

As highlighted in this prior post, in 2012 medical devices maker Smith & Nephew plc (a U.K. company with ADR shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange) resolved a $22 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action concerning conduct in Greece.

According to the DOJ, “Smith & Nephew, through certain executives, employees and affiliates, agreed to sell products at full list price to a Greek distributor based in Athens, and then pay the amount of the distributor discount to an off-shore shell company controlled by the distributor. These off-the-books funds were then used by the distributor to pay cash incentives and other things of value to publicly-employed Greek health care providers to induce the purchase of Smith & Nephew products. In total, from 1998 to 2008, Smith & Nephew, its affiliates and employees authorized the payment of approximately $9.4 million to the distributor’s shell companies, some or all of which was passed on to physicians to corruptly induce them to purchase medical devices manufactured by Smith & Nephew.”

Smith & Nephew is again under FCPA scrutiny as it recently disclosed:

“The Group operates across the world and is subject to extensive legislation, including anti-bribery and corruption and data protection, in each country in which the Group operates. Our international operations are governed by the United Kingdom Bribery Act and the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act which prohibit us or our representatives from making or offering improper payments to government officials and other persons or accepting payments for the purpose of obtaining or maintaining business. Our international operations in the Emerging Markets which operate through distributors increase our Group exposure to these risks. In this regard, the Group is investigating allegations of possible violations of anti-corruption laws in India and responding to related requests for information from the SEC. It is not possible to predict the nature, scope or outcome of the investigations, including the extent to which, if at all, this could result in any liability to the Group.”

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