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GSK fines the end of its bribery ordeal

23 September 2014

GlaxoSmithKline is claiming the £300M fine imposed on it by a Chinese court is the end of the bribery scandal. But things may not be that clear cut, as the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and US authorities are still looking closely at the pharmaceutical giant.

GSK may have seen five of its staff receive suspended sentences rather than prison terms for the practice of bribing doctors to prescribe its drugs but the punishment is still large. And, as we have said previously, such problems could have been avoided with proper compliance.

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The Court of Appeal has upheld convictions against two defendants, Dennis Kerrison and Miltiades Papachristos, in the long-running Innospec case, although it did reduce Kerrison’s sentence.

Allegations that Innospec bribed Indonesian officials to buy its harmful petrol additive TEL led to four of its executives being convicted and the company being fined $12.7M by the SFO. Innospec was fined $27.5M in the US four years ago after being charged with corruption offences.

Bribery, it seems, is now more likely to be detected than in previous years.

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The SFO has indicted it is preparing more criminal charges against traders as part of its investigation into the manipulation of Libor. A total of 12 people have already been charged in the UK but the SFO stated this week that “more will follow’’.

Enforcement agencies around the world are looking into allegations that as many as a dozen firms colluded to manipulate the benchmark that is used in securities worth a combined $300 trillion. London prosecutors are believed to be investigating more than 20 people over plans to rig the yen Libor rate and dollar Libor rate; which indicates the scale of the issue and the effort being put into finding those responsible.

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