A medical technologies firm agreed to pay a $7.8 million penalty to settle SEC charges for violating the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA"). The charges stem from the firm's operations in India, China and Kuwait.
According to the SEC Order, Stryker Corporation ("Stryker") allegedly failed to devise and maintain a system of internal accounting controls sufficient to provide reasonable assurances that transactions were appropriately authorized and recorded. The SEC found that in China, the firm failed to review, approve, train and monitor certain sub-distributors in accordance with internal policies, "thereby increasing the risk of bribery and other improper payments." The SEC claimed that Stryker failed to make and keep books, records and accounts that accurately and fairly reflected the company's transactions in reasonable detail. In particular, the SEC alleged that Stryker was unable to provide any documentation for 27 percent of sampled high-risk transactions on Stryker India's general ledger during the period from 2010 to 2015.
As part of the settlement, the firm also agreed to retain an independent compliance consultant for a period of at least 18 months. Stryker neither admitted to nor denied the allegations against it. This is Stryker's second FCPA-related settlement with the SEC. The company settled the previous charges in 2013.
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