Johnson & Johnson disclosed the likely "improper payments" related to product sales overseas, in a statement late Feb. 12, saying it had notified the U.S. Justice Department about the payments and would cooperate with government investigators. The payments are believed to have been made by Johnson & Johnson subsidiaries overseas related to the sale of medical devices in "two small-market countries," the company said.
"The actions were contrary to the company's policies, and the payments may fall within the jurisdiction of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act," Johnson & Johnson's statement said. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act essentially bars U.S. executives from bribing or making illicit payments to foreign officials or companies.
The company also announced the immediate retirement of Michael Dormer, a former worldwide chairman of the firm's Medical Devices and Diagnostics unit. Dormer, a senior Johnson & Johnson executive, had represented the firm at major industry conferences held in the U.S. in recent years. Johnson & Johnson said Nicholas Valeriani would take over responsibility for the businesses that had been under Dormer's oversight.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007