(Explains the accusations in paragraphs 2 and 3; gives
By Joel Schectman and Natalie Grover
WASHINGTON Dec 22 Teva Pharmaceutical
Industries agreed to pay more than $519 million to
settle U.S. criminal and civil allegations that the company
bribed overseas officials to gain business for its medications,
the U.S. Department of Justice said on Thursday.
The company paid millions of dollars in bribes to officials
in Mexico, Russia and Ukraine to promote its products such as
its blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone, the Justice
Teva will pay a $283 million penalty to settle Foreign
Corrupt Practices Act allegations with the Justice Department.
The company will also forfeit $236 million in profits plus
interest to resolve a civil investigation by the U.S. Securities
and Exchange Commission. Teva's Russia subsidiary pleaded guilty
to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
Teva admitted that its executives bribed officials in order
to win more than $65 million in inflated, "corrupt" profits in
Teva also admitted to bribing a Ukrainian government
official in order to gain approval for the sale of the company's
The briberies took place for more than a decade, according
to the Justice Department.
The SEC said that all told the company's bribe scheme
brought the company more than $200 million in illicit profits.
Teva said that since 2012 it had taken several steps to
address issues of governance, including naming a global head of
compliance and ending problematic business relationships.
Teva, the world's biggest generic drugmaker, said none of the
workers involved in the improper payments were any longer with
the company, and that it had replaced its entire leadership team
in Russia in 2013.
The improper conduct did not involve U.S. sales, Teva said.
The Act makes it a crime to bribe foreign government
officials to win business regardless of whether the payments are
made directly or through other means such as extravagant
entertainment or footing the bill for international travel.
The company, whose shares are listed on the New York and Tel
Aviv stock exchanges, must also retain an independent corporate
monitor for at least three years, the SEC said.
Reuters reported earlier this month that Teva was
investigating claims by an anonymous tipster that the company
bribed state healthcare workers in Romania.
Teva's shares were up 2.2 percent at $37.16 in New York.
(Reporting by Joel Schectman in Washington and Natalie Grover
in Bengaluru; Editing by Ted Kerr and Phil Berlowitz)