On March 3, the SEC announced it settled FCPA charges with a health science company and a former engineer, Mikhail Gourevitch, for their role in bribing Russian government officials to obtain approvals for a liver cancer drug. The company and Gourevitch settled their respective cases with the SEC via separate Administrative Orders Instituting Cease-and-Desist Proceedings. Both the company (now a privately held company, but which was publicly-traded on the NYSE during the 2004-2011 time period at issue) and Gourevitch consented to the SEC orders without admitting or denying the FCPA findings.
In the order settling the charges against the company, the SEC found that it violated the FCPA’s books and records and internal accounting controls provisions in connection with payments made to a Russian third-party agent. According to the SEC, portions of the payments to the agent were used to bribe government officials in Russia to obtain government approval to license, register, and distribute TheraSphere, a liver cancer therapy drug. The company never ultimately won approval to distribute TheraSphere and did not earn any profits as a result from the improper payments.
The order found that the company mischaracterized the agent fees as legitimate business expenses and that it (i) did not have adequate policies and procedures in places to detect corruption risks; and (ii) provided little, if any, training regarding how to conduct business in high-risk jurisdictions. The company, which is a leading provider of medical isotopes, targeted therapies, and sterilization technologies, agreed to pay a $375,000 penalty to settle the charges. The SEC noted the company’s cooperation, self-reporting, and remedial acts in assessing the penalty.
Gourevitch, a dual Canadian and Israeli citizen, agreed to pay $100,000 in disgorgement, $12,950 in prejudgment interest, and a $66,000 penalty to settle the charges that he violated the anti-bribery, books-and-records, and false records provisions of the FCPA. The SEC found that Gourevitch facilitated and monitored the consulting contracts between the company and the Russian third-party agent, who was Gourevitch’s childhood friend.