Healthcare giant Philips was warned of suspicious sales of its medical equipment to the Brazilian government, and failed to halt them, nearly a decade before an alleged bribery racket was exposed in the company’s Brazil operations last year, Reuters has learned.
Claims of malfeasance reached the highest levels of the Dutch conglomerate as early as 2010, according to court records filed by federal prosecutors, internal company documents and Reuters interviews with a former manager at a Philips subsidiary in Brazil who says he told superiors of the suspected scheme and was later sacked.
That ex-employee, Jose Israel Masiero Filho, a former supply-chain executive with Dixtal Biomedica Industria e Comercio Ltda., spoke extensively with Reuters in his first interview with foreign media. He said in January 2010 he spotted irregularities in three deals to sell Philips and Dixtal equipment to an obscure Brazilian middleman who had landed big contracts with Brazil’s Ministry of Health. Masiero said he suspected payoffs had been used to secure that government business, allegations now at the heart of a burgeoning graft probe in Brazil, court records show.
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