Johnson & Johnson Paid Bribes Overseas: Feds

J&J Will Pay $70 Million Dollar Fine

By Jonathan Dienst and Shimon Prokupecz
|  Friday, Apr 8, 2011  |  Updated 4:54 PM EDT
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Johnson & Johnson Paid Bribes Overseas: Feds

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Johnson and Johnson will pay a $70 million dollar fine to settle charges some of its employees paid bribes to health-care providers overseas.

The Justice Department said it will defer prosecution of the company after J&J agreed to pay the fine and admit wrongdoing.  Officials stressed the company also cooperated fully to help unravel the alleged corruption.

"We are committed to holding corporations accountable for bribing foreign officials, while, at the same time, giving meaningful credit to companies that self-report and cooperate with our investigations," said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman.

Workers at J&J paid bribes to officials in Greece, Poland and Romania.  Kickbacks were also paid to Iraqi officials as part of the United Nations Oil For Food program.  In exchange, J&J employees hoped additional medical devices could be sold to those nations.  Some J&J subsidiary companies were also linked to this scandal.

J&J made timely disclosure of the wrongdoing and the Justice Department described the New Brunswick, NJ firm's cooperation as "extraordinary."

"More than four years ago, we went to the government to report improper payments and have taken full responsibility for these actions,” said William C. Weldon, J&J Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We are deeply disappointed by the unacceptable conduct that led to these violations. We have undertaken significant changes since then to improve our compliance efforts, and we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure this does not occur again.”

More than $48 million of the fines will go to the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The rest will go to the Department of Justice.   J&J's wrongdoing first came to light in 2007.

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