I’m going to make a prediction about this..
I think that the UK Serious Fraud Office will either let GSK off the hook completely (due to some technicality of law or loop-hole) or GSK will get off very lightly (a slap on the wrist). Either way, I would be extremely surprised if justice is adequately served.
In a just world, one where corporations like GSK don’t get to operate above the law- the top executives at GSK would all be in jail. However we don’t live in a just world, we love in a corporate driven world, one where corporations get to decide on what laws they can break at a whim, with little consequence from the establishment or the authorities.
It will be interesting to see whether the serious fraud office in the UK has the balls, or even the power, to bring the GSK Goliath to book…
Judging from past examples, of GSK criminality, I won’t hold my breath…
They are the UK’s prized Pharma Cash-cow…
Too many people, in places of power, are generating too much wealth from this cash cow for it- to ever be -put out to pasture…
UK fraud office expects decision on GSK, Rolls-Royce cases next year
LONDON (Reuters) – The UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said on Thursday it expects to decide next year whether it will file criminal charges in bribery investigations related to drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) and aero engine company Rolls-Royce (RR.L).
The SFO launched an investigation into GSK and its subsidiaries in 2014. Britain’s biggest drugmaker has already been fined a record 3 billion yuan ($452 million) by Chinese authorities for paying bribes to doctors to use its drugs.
The SFO’s continued investigation into Rolls-Royce is focusing on individuals after the aero engine maker paid 671 million pounds ($870 million) in January to settle British, U.S. and Brazilian bribery investigations.
David Green, the head of the SFO, told Reuters in an interview that he hoped a decision about charges would be made before he steps down after six years in the job next April.
“I would expect resolution in both these cases in 2018, and hopefully prior to my departure in April,” he said.
Separately, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office, which is responsible for SFO director appointments, said the recruitment process for Green’s successor had yet to begin. But she said there was “still plenty of time” and that there “will be an appointment in due course”.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party pledged in May to abolish the specialist investigator and prosecutor and roll it into the four-year-old National Crime Agency (NCA) to “strengthen Britain’s response to white collar crime”.
But the proposal drew sharp criticism from white collar crime lawyers, lawmakers and anti-corruption groups and was later dropped from the minority government’s official two-year policy program.
Lawyers said the omission could signal a reprieve for the agency, which in June charged Barclays (BARC.L), one of the country’s biggest banks, and four former senior executives with fraud over undisclosed payments to Qatari investors in 2008.
A few months back, myself and Bob Fiddaman (of the Fiddaman Seroxat blog) collaborated on an investigative blog post called ‘The GSK 3″ about the UK Serious Fraud Office’s investigation into GSK’s alleged fraudulent activities around the globe.
One name that came up in that investigation was Jason Lord.
He is one of the GSK 3.
So, who are the three?
1. Jason Lord. (No photo available)
Research shows that Lord was, in 2006, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) Security Adviser in the Corporate Security and Investigations Department.
In 2006, Lord attended and gave a presentation at the Jordan Intellectual Property Association (JIPA), a membership-based association that has organized several IP training events in Jordan. (Web Archive)
For those that don’t know, Jordan is another country currently under investigation. The claims are that GSK staff in Jordan have bribed doctors. The allegations relating to Jordan and also Lebanon were first reported in the Wall Street Journal, which cited emails from a person who first contacted GSK in December. The paper said the emails allege that GSK sales representatives bribed doctors to prescribe drugs and vaccines by issuing free samples to doctors that they were allowed to sell on.
Not much else is known about Jason Lord.
Just recently a comment was left by someone here on this blog claiming to be an ex-GSK employee, they said:
From Bob Fiddaman’s blog:
Thursday, May 29, 2014
GSK’s Sales Reps Want Their Money Back
Where’s John Grisham when you need him?
Seriously, you really couldn’t make this shit up.
The Financial Times are running with a story that’s as jaw-dropping as anything I’ve read thus far regarding the bribery scandal in China. I had to do a double-take, had I fallen asleep last night and somehow travelled back in time to April 1st? There were no skid marks from DeLorean tyres in my bedroom and my computer told me it was 29/05/2014.
“GSK salesmen want ‘bribes’ reimbursed” is the headline, what follows is pure Grishamism.
GlaxoSmithKline, the UK pharmaceutical company at the centre of a Chinese corruption scandal, is facing protests from junior employees who say the company is refusing to reimburse them for bribes they were ordered to pay by their superiors.
Now some Chinese sales staff are complaining that GSK has denied bonuses, threatened dismissal or refused to reimburse them for bribes they say were sanctioned by their superiors to boost the company’s drug sales. In some cases, managers instructed them to purchase fake receipts that were used to cover up bribes paid in cash or gifts to doctors and hospitals, according to salesmen interviewed by the Financial Times.
In some instances, managers disguised their involvement by using their personal email address to instruct staff to pay bribes and by ordering junior staff to claim on their personal expense accounts – even if the bribe was actually paid out by the manager – according to these people.
In late March, disgruntled staff sent 25 representatives to GSK’s headquarters in Shanghai, where they unfurled a banner that read: “Return my hard-earned money.”
Cor blimey governor, can you Adam and Eve it!
So, let’s get this straight.
Glaxo’s reps paid bribes out of their own pockets that were later to be reimbursed by the company…and now they are telling Glaxo that they want reimbursing?
Here’s the Financial Times again…
“The expenses were paid with our own money, and although the receipts were not compliant, it was our managers who told us to buy the fake receipts,” said one former GSK salesman.
The FT article goes on to explain that some sales reps were warned not to implicate senior staff, in many instances, according to the FT, management “approached each person [rep] before they were questioned and asked them not to mention his name. He even prepared a story for them to tell the investigator.”
Glaxo have denied that this is a systematic problem throughout their global operation – they’ve even denied it after other allegations of bribery have surfaced in other countries, namely Iraq, Poland, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and now the UK. [back story]
We hear the same old line from GSK when they have been caught by investigating officials, citing that they will “cooperate fully with investigators”.
I thought long and hard about this line. It’s pure psychology. By stating that they will cooperate fully with investigators eases the guilt and, at the same time, paints a picture that Glaxo were unaware what was going on. In essence, “We will cooperate fully with investigators”, actually means we’ve been caught red-handed and will answer any of your questions. We will not offer you any specific evidence unless you ask for it specifically. Glaxo do the same when faced with litigation too.
I find it laughable that reps who knowingly broke rules with their own money now want reimbursing. It’s akin to the Yorkshire Ripper billing the tool shop where he purchased his hammer from. Apologies for using such a heinous crime as an analogy – I’m referring to the Yorkshire Ripper and not Glaxo’s bribery.
It’s been alleged that female sales reps were told to offer sexual favours to doctors in efforts to get them to prescribe more of GSK’s drugs. [back story]
Are we to assume then that these female reps will be asking for reimbursement of the contraceptives and/or mouthwash they purchased?
The UK’s Serious Fraud Office recently announced that they are investigating GSK. It’s highly likely that they will just focus on GSK’s illegal activities overseas and won’t even bother to look to see if GSK reps have been doing the same here in the UK.
The FT article can be read here. You may have to subscribe to read all the content.
GSK says faces UK serious fraud investigation
May 27 (Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline Plc said on Tuesday that Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has opened a formal criminal investigation into its commercial practices.
GSK said in a statement that it would cooperate fully with the SFO and was committed to operating its business to the highest ethical standards.
The statement gave no further details about the investigation. (Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken