NewsInferno.com reports that the Justice Department (DOJ) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced yesterday that Biomet, a medical device company, will pay a $17.3 million criminal penalty and $5.4 million in restitution to resolve the SEC’s civil charges, which allege that Biomet bribed government-employed physicians in Argentina, Brazil, and China for over eight years as a way to secure hospital business in those countries. It is illegal to bribe foreign government officials or company executives to obtain or keep business.
According to their deferred prosecution agreement, if Biomet institutes strict company controls to prevent bribery and if it hires an expert to oversee its compliance for 18 months, the firm will avoid prosecution by the DOJ. Biomet supposedly had strict company controls in place to prevent bribery. However, those controls did not seem to work so well, as the compliance arm of the company knew about the bribes yet did nothing to stop them.