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Johnson & Johnson settles bribery case with feds

WASHINGTON — Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has agreed to pay $70 million to settle civil and criminal charges of bribing doctors in Europe and paying kickbacks to the Iraqi government to illegally obtain business.

The Securities and Exchange Commission says the company settled the charges with the agency and the Justice Department without admitting or denying guilt.

The government accused J&J subsidiaries of providing money and travel gifts to doctors in Greece, Poland and Romania in exchange for their prescribing J&J products to patients. The SEC says J&J agents used fake contracts and sham companies to deliver the bribes. The SEC says the bribes began at least 13 years ago.

J&J subsidiaries also allegedly paid kickbacks to the Iraqi government to obtain contracts under the United Nations Oil for Food Program.

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