Litigation Release No. 21922 / April 8, 2011
Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Release No. 3261 / April 8, 2011
Securities and Exchange Commission v. Johnson & Johnson, Civil Action No. 1: 11-CV-00686 (D.D.C.) (E.F.H.) (filed April 8, 2011)
JOHNSON & JOHNSON TO PAY MORE THAN $70 MILLION IN SETTLED FCPA ENFORCEMENT ACTION
The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced a settlement with Johnson and Johnson (“J&J”) to resolve SEC charges that the New Brunswick, NJ-based global pharmaceutical, consumer product, and medical device company violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by bribing public doctors in several European countries and paying kickbacks to Iraq to illegally obtain business.
The SEC alleges that, since at least 1998, J&J’s subsidiaries paid bribes to public doctors in Greece who selected J&J surgical implants, paid bribes to public doctors and hospital administrators in Poland who awarded tenders to J&J, and paid bribes to public doctors in Romania to prescribe J&J pharmaceutical products. J&J also paid kickbacks to Iraq in order to obtain contracts under the United Nations Oil for Food Program (“Program”).
J&J has agreed to pay more than $48.6 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest to settle the SEC’s charges and to pay a $21.4 million fine to the U.S. Department of Justice to settle criminal charges. A resolution of a related investigation by the United Kingdom Serious Fraud Office is anticipated.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that J&J subsidiaries, employees, and agents paid bribes to public doctors and administrators in Greece, Poland, and Romania. Doctors who ordered or prescribed J&J products were rewarded in a variety of ways, including cash and inappropriate travel. A variety of schemes were used to carry-out the bribery, including the use of slush funds, sham civil contracts with doctors, and off-shore companies in the Isle of Man. A J&J executive was involved in the Greek conduct, and MD&D Poland executives running three business lines oversaw the creation of sham contracts, travel documents, and the creation of slush funds in Poland. The SEC’s complaint also alleges that J&J’s agent paid secret kickbacks to Iraq to obtain nineteen Oil for Food contracts.
Without admitting or denying the SEC’s allegations, J&J has consented to the entry of a court order permanently enjoining it from future violations of Sections 30A, 13(b)(2)(A), and 13(b)(2)(B) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934; ordering it to pay $38,227,826 in disgorgement and $10,438,490 in prejudgment interest; and ordering it to comply with certain undertakings regarding its FCPA compliance program.
J&J voluntarily disclosed some of the violations by its employees, and conducted a thorough internal investigation to determine the scope of the bribery and other violations, including proactive investigations in more than a dozen countries by both its internal auditors and outside counsel. J&J’s internal investigation and its ongoing compliance programs were essential in gathering facts regarding the full extent of J&J’s FCPA violations.
Kelly G. Kilroy and Tracy L. Price of the Enforcement Division’s FCPA Unit and Brent S. Mitchell and Reid A. Muoio conducted the SEC’s investigation. The SEC acknowledges the assistance of the U.S. Department of Justice, Fraud Section; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; the Serious Fraud Office in the United Kingdom; and 5th Investigation Department of the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Radom, Poland. The SEC's investigation is continuing.