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The SEC asks Novartis, ‘Haven't we met before?’

Tom Fox | May 2, 2016

In March, the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis settled an FCPA enforcement action brought by the SEC for $25 million. As noted in the Cease and Desist Order,

“From at least 2009 to 2013, certain employees and agents of Novartis subsidiaries conducting business in China engaged in transactions and provided things of value to foreign officials, principally healthcare professionals (“HCPs”). These payments took varied forms and were intended to influence the HCPs and thereby increase sales of Novartis pharmaceutical products. Employees and managers in the involved subsidiaries attempted to conceal the true nature of the transactions through the use of complicit third parties and by improperly recording the relevant transactions on the books and records of the respective subsidiaries, which were consolidated in the financial reports of Novartis. Examples include improperly recording the payments as legitimate expenses for travel and entertainment, conferences,...

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