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News >> Anti-Bribery & Anti-Corruption

Harris Corporation (Harris) announced in a regulatory filing that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had launched an investigation into possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by China-based employees of a recently acquired company. Harris announced its intention to fully cooperate with the investigation.

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The United States (US) Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that former Willbros International Inc consultant Paul Novak has been penalised US$1 million and sentenced to serve 15 months in prison for his participation in a scheme to bribe Nigerian government and political party officials with over US$6 million in payments.

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For the second time in four days, the U.S. government announced a civil fraud lawsuit against Swiss drug maker Novartis last week. The government is accusing the company of providing kickbacks to doctors in exchange for prescription drugs. Novartis allegedly provided doctors with sizable speaking fees and “opulent” meals in order to persuade doctors to prescribe its drugs.

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Ralph Lauren Corp. has agreed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to pay $1.6 million in order to settle charges the company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The charges related to bribes paid to government officials in Argentina between 2005 and 2009. The company discovered the violations through an internal audit and reported them to the SEC and DOJ.

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Oil service company Parker Drilling Co. has agreed to pay $15.9 million to settle allegations it tried to bribe a Nigerian government official to reduce fines the company was facing. $11.8 million will go towards settling the Department of Justice’s charges that the company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and $4.1 million will go to settle a civil complaint filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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The United States (US) Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that California based biotechnology company Amgen Inc (Amgen) has agreed to pay US$24.9 million to settle claims that it paid kickbacks to three pharmacy providers in return for implementing "'therapeutic interchange' programs that were designed to switch Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries from a competitor drug to [chronic kidney failure-related anaemia treatment product Aranesp]".

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The United States (US) Department of Justice (DoJ) has announced that health system operator Intermountain Health Care Inc (Intermountain) has agreed to pay US$25.5 million to settle claims it violated the Stark Statute and the False Claims Act through improper financial relationships between hospitals and the doctors referring patients to them. According to the DoJ, the relationships allegedly in violation included "employment agreements under which the physicians received bonuses that improperly took into account the value of some of their patient referrals" and "office leases and compensation arrangements between Intermountain and referring physicians".

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In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (Wal-Mart) indicated it was ‘probable’ that they would incur a loss because of its ongoing bribery investigations. Wal-Mart does not think the loss will be material at this point, but said that could change in the future. Last April, allegations surfaced that the company failed to report the fact that company officials authorized millions of dollars in payments to Mexican government officials to speed up the acquisition of building permits and other favors.

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have opened preliminary bribery investigations into Microsoft’s possible violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). According to a person briefed on the inquiry, an unnamed whistleblower came forward last year claiming a Microsoft official in China instructed the whistleblower to pay bribes to government officials in order to win business. The agencies are also investigating claims of misconduct in Italy and Romania. According to the person briefed on the inquiry, Microsoft conducted an internal investigation on the China accusations in 2010 with the aid of an outside law firm and found no evidence of improper behavior.

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The Las Vegas Sands Corporation (Sands) indicated in its annual regulatory filing last week that its audit committee and independent accountants had concluded that the company likely violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). The admission comes at the same time the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have been conducting an investigation into the company’s activities in China. According to the filing, Sands is cooperating with all investigations and the company did not believe the filing would have an impact on financial statements or necessitate revisions to its past statements.

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