Zimmer Biomet nearing deal with federal officials over bribery allegations

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WASHINGTON (AP) – The U.S. Justice Dept. and Zimmer Biomet are close to reaching a deal to settle bribery allegations against the orthopedic device giant, according to federal prosecutors.

The Department of Justice alleged that Biomet and its subsidiaries paid out more than $1.5 million in illegal kickbacks to employees of state-owned health services in Brazil and China. Biomet paid $22 million in March 2012 to settle the case with the Justice Dept. and the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, agreeing to a deferred prosecution agreement to guard against further misconduct.

Zimmer and Biomet closed their $14 billion merger in June 2015. But in July 2014, an SEC subpoena prompted Biomet to reveal other alleged improprieties at its operations in Brazil and Mexico, prompting an extension to the DPA and a new federal probe beyond the term of the agreement.

Prosecutors said last week they are close to reaching a deal to settle the charges in a filing with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

“The parties have made substantial progress in those discussions and expect to resolve this matter within approximately four weeks,” Department of Justice fraud chief Andrew Weissman wrote in the filing.

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