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Teva agrees to pay $519M to resolve bribery charges in foreign countries

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries said Thursday that it will pay $519 million to resolve bribery charges in Ukraine, Mexico, and Russia.

The settlement with the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission relates to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act from 2007 to 2013. Under the law, it is a crime to bribe foreign government officials to win business through direct monetary payments, lavish entertainment, or paying for travel.

Details of the misconduct were not disclosed. The Israel-based drugmaker, whose North America headquarters are in North Wales, Montgomery County, employs more than 2,000 in North Wales, Horsham, Frazer, West Chester, and New Britain.

"While the conduct that resulted in this investigation ended several years ago, it is both regrettable and unacceptable, and we are pleased to finally put this matter behind us," said Erez Vigodman, Teva president and CEO. "Teva of today is a fundamentally different company."

The deal includes a deferred-prosecution agreement and implementation of a temporary independent compliance monitor for Teva, the company said.

Teva said it has terminated "problematic business relationships with third parties," fired some employees, overhauled the management of several subsidiaries, and quit doing business in several countries.

"None of the employees involved in the improper payments are still employed by Teva, including in Russia, where the entire leadership team was replaced in 2013," the company said.

Last week, Teva, the largest generic-drug maker in the world, was one of six pharmaceutical companies named in a federal lawsuit filed by attorneys general in 20 states, including Pennsylvania, on allegations of collusion in fixing drug prices.  The suit alleges that the six companies violated antitrust laws by conspiring to fix prices and allocate markets for various generic drugs.

The attorneys general, including Bruce R. Beemer in Pennsylvania, allege that the conduct reduced competition  and led to artificially higher prices for consumers.

Teva has denied the charges.  "To date, we have not found any evidence of price fixing within Teva, and so on the facts we vigorously deny any allegations of wrongdoing," the company said.