SEC Issues $4.5 Million Whistleblower Award

A former orthopedic surgeon in Brazil received an award of more than $4.5 million for raising concerns to the Securities and Exchange Commission about an alleged kickback scheme operated by a subsidiary of a medical device maker, according to lawyers for the whistleblower.

The SEC announced the award Friday, but the regulator didn’t identify the company or the whistleblower.

Lawyers representing the tipster, Christopher Connors of Connors Law Group LLC and Andy Rickman of Rickman Law Group LLP, identified the subsidiary’s parent company as device maker Zimmer Biomet Holdings Inc., which in 2017 settled investigations by the SEC and the U.S. Department of Justice into alleged violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

The whistleblower notified the SEC about an alleged kickback scheme in Brazil, Mr. Connors said. He declined to name the tipster but described him as a former surgeon and former president of the Brazilian Orthopedic Sports Medicine Society.

Chad Phipps, general counsel of Zimmer Biomet, said in an email Friday that the company doesn’t comment on legal matters.

The award is the latest development in a foreign corruption case involving the medical device maker, regulatory documents indicate.

Zimmer Biomet in January 2017 paid about $30 million to settle the SEC and Justice Department probes. Those investigations were related to Biomet Inc., according to the SEC. Biomet was bought by Zimmer Holdings in 2015, a combination that led to the creation of Zimmer Biomet.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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