$16.8M fine for European device maker in FCPA settlement.
The US DOJ announced today that Smith & Nephew has admitted to and settled claims related to an offshore kickback scheme with a Greek distributor. Smith & Nephew also settled today with the US SEC, paying $5.4 million in disgorgement of profits, including interest.
This is one more in a line of FCPA cases where the weak link in a company’s compliance program turns out to be 3rd party distributors and pressure to bring in revenue.
A recurring motif in communications with resellers is a version of “all the other resellers are doing it, if I don’t, I can’t compete”. It seems to be a trap that is too easy to fall into for some executives.
The DOJ noted that it will seek to have the original charges dismissed if Smith & Nephew abides by the terms of its settlement agreement.