Kickbacks were allegedly paid for Brazilian public health contracts.
Brazilian prosecutors have identified more than 20 companies that may have been involved in a scheme to fix the prices of medical equipment in Brazil. The companies include Johnson & Johnson, Siemens, General Electric and Philips, among others — they are accused by prosecutors pf possibly having formed a “cartel” to pay bribes and fix those prices. They may have paid illegal kickbacks to Brazilian government officials over the past 20 years in order to receive contracts through the country’s public health programs, which serve more than 210 million people. Prosecutors say the higher prices and arranged contracts cost Brazilian taxpayers nearly $150 million over the last 10 years.
Officials from the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission are supporting Brazilian federal prosecutors. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) is also sharing information on the medical equipment case. Now it appears that the agency is conducting its own probe of the multinational corporations that have been identified. The FBI has jurisdiction under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it illegal for companies with securities listed in the U.S. to pay off overseas officials.
In the first case to go to court, which took place in 2018, Daurio Speranzini Jr., a former regional executive for GE and Philips, and 22 others were found guilty.