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Germany’s Fresenius has paid bribes to Moroccan government officials to obtain business

Germany-based company Fresenius Medical Care has admitted that it paid bribes to public health and government officials in Morocco and in other countries to obtain business. According to the US Justice Department, the firm will be paying $231 million to avoid prosecution.

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Fresenius medical care, a Germany-based company./Ph. DR

Fresenius Medical Care, a Germany-based company specializing in the production of medical supplies, has agreed to pay $231 million after it admitted that it paid bribes to public health and government officials in several countries, including Morocco, the US Department of Justice announced.

In a press release made public Friday, March the 29th, the US Justice Department’s Criminal Division revealed that the company has been at the heart of investigations conducted by the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for being involved in «various corrupt schemes to obtain business in multiple foreign countries».

In fact, the German firm revealed that it paid bribes, during the period from 2007 to 2016, to publicly employed health and government officials, in Angola, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, among others.

A sham commission to bribe a Moroccan official

According to the US Justice Department document, «in Angola and Saudi Arabia, as well as in Morocco, Spain, Turkey and countries in West Africa, Fresenius knowingly and willfully failed to maintain books and records that accurately and fairly reflected the transactions».

In the Kingdom, Fresenius admitted that it «paid bribes through a sham commission». The latter transmitted bribes to a «Moroccan state official for the purpose of obtaining contracts to develop kidney dialysis centers at Moroccan state-owned military hospitals», the same document indicated.

Giving more details, the US Justice Department stated that the «sham commission would pay 10 percent of the value of the contract to the Moroccan state official and was disguised as a bonus payment to a Fresenius employee».

These practices allowed the German firm to «gain a competitive advantage in the medical services industry, profiting to the tune of over $140 million», revealed Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski from the US Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

To avoid prosecution, Fresenius agreed to a «nonprosecution agreement», known as NPA, with the US Justice Department, and promised to pay $84,715,273 as a penalty. Furthermore, the company agreed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to pay $147 million «in disgorgement and prejudgment interest», bringing the total amount paid to $231 million.

In addition to the money Fresenius is entitled to pay, it promised to maintain an independent monitor for two years, to root out bribery and prevent misconduct, the same source concluded.

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