Stryker To Pay $13.3M To Resolve SEC Inquiry

Medical device maker Stryker will pay the U.S. government $13.3 million to settle allegations it made illegal payments to government employees in five countries.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said Stryker subsidiaries made $2.2 million in illegal payments to government employees in Mexico, Poland, Romania, Argentina, and Greece between August 2003 and February 2008. It said Stryker made the payments to get or retain business, but it recorded them as legitimate consulting and service contracts, travel costs, charitable donations and commissions.

The SEC said Thursday that Stryker made $7.5 million in illicit profits as a result of the payments. The company will pay the U.S. Treasury $7.5 million plus $2.3 million in interest. It will also pay a $3.5 million civil penalty.

According to the SEC, Stryker Corp. had anti-corruption corporate policies, but did not do enough to implement them and make sure its regional and country operations followed those policies.

Stryker said the SEC and the U.S. Department of Justice began investigating the payments in 2007 and said it has improved its anti-corruption programs. It said the Justice Department has closed its investigation.

Shares of the Kalamazoo, Mich., company added 10 cents to $74.07 in afternoon trading, after earlier hitting $74.16, its highest price since October 2007.

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