Teva Pharmaceutical Industries today has agreed to pay more than $519 million to settle parallel civil and criminal charges that it violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying bribes to foreign government officials in Russia, Ukraine, and Mexico.
The SEC complaint alleges that Teva made more than $214 million in illicit profits by making the influential payments to increase its market share and obtain regulatory and formulary approvals as well as favorable drug purchase and prescription decisions.
“As alleged in our complaint, Teva failed to devise and maintain proper internal accounting controls to prevent the company’s payments of bribes to win business in certain regions around the globe,” said Stephanie Avakian, Deputy Director of the SEC Enforcement Division.
Eric Bustillo, Director of the SEC’s Miami Regional Office, added, “As we allege in our complaint, many of these bribes were concealed as legitimate payments to distributors. While distributors can help companies navigate complex regulatory environments and provide valuable industry relationships, they also can create significant corruption risks for companies.”
Under the settlement, Teva must pay more than $236 million in disgorgement and interest to the SEC, plus a $283 million penalty in a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. The Criminal Division’s Fraud Section reached its resolution based on a number of factors, including the fact that Teva did not timely voluntarily self-disclose the conduct, but did cooperate with the Department’s investigation after the SEC served it with a subpoena, the Justice Department said.
Teva received a 20 percent discount off the low end of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines fine range because of its substantial cooperation and remediation. The company, however, did not receive full cooperation credit because of issues that resulted in delays to the early stages of the Fraud Section’s investigation, including vastly overbroad assertions of attorney-client privilege and not producing documents on a timely basis in response to certain Fraud Section document requests. The DPA imposes an independent compliance monitor for a term of three years.