prosecutor opens investigation into Novartis: media
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[April 01, 2016]
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - The Ankara
Chief Prosecutor has launched an investigation into the Turkish unit of
Swiss drugmaker Novartis, local media reported on Friday, after
allegations it benefited from bribery.
The prosecutor's investigation was prompted by allegations reported
in the press this week, Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper said on its
website without giving a source.
Calls to both the chief prosecutor's press office and the main
switchboard were not answered.
Novartis has said the allegations against it were "unfounded" and
based on a past complaint. The company had no further immediate
comment, a spokesman said on Friday.
Reuters reported this week that an anonymous whistleblower accused
the company of paying bribes through a consulting firm to secure an
estimated $85 million in business advantages.
Turkey's health ministry has opened a separate investigation into
the allegations. A senior ministry official, Eyup Gumus, said on
Friday that no problems have been seen in that initial
The anonymous whistleblower said Novartis had paid a government
relations consultant the equivalent of $290,000 plus costs during
2013 and 2014, before the Turkish Social Security Institution
launched an investigation in 2015, leading the drugmaker to end the
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(Reporting by Ceyda Caglayan and Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by David
Dolan; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Clelia Oziel)
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