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Bruker Investigation Finds Employees Bribed Chinese Officials

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Bruker said this week it has found that certain employees in its Bruker Optics subsidiary bribed officials in China and the company has fired them.

The company made its disclosure in its Form 10-K annual report filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission this week, saying that the audit committee of its board of directors found "evidence indicating that payments were made that improperly benefited employees or agents of government-owned enterprises in China."

Additionally, its investigation found that certain employees of Bruker Optics in China and Hong Kong did not comply with corporate policies and standards of conduct, and "[a]s a result, we have taken personnel actions, including the termination of certain individuals."

In addition, the company has terminated relationships with unnamed third party agents and taken steps to try to prevent similar improper acts in the future. These efforts include implementing an enhanced Foreign Corrupt Practices Act compliance program and bolstered financial controls and oversight at its China and Hong Kong subsidiaries, it said.

Bruker also has begun a review of the China operations of its other subsidiaries, which is being conducted with the help of an independent audit firm.

Bruker initiated its internal investigation during last summer after it was tipped off anonymously about "improper conduct in connection with the China operations of its Bruker Optics subsidiary," the company said in an SEC filing in August.

It added at the time that evidence indicated that improper payments had been made to employees and agents of government-owned enterprises in China.

Bruker said in its Form 10-K this week that at this time it cannot "reasonably assess the timing or outcome of these matters or their effect, if any, on our business," and added that monetary penalties as well as criminal and civil sanctions may be imposed, resulting from violations of FCPA.

Other monetary penalties and sanctions related to the matter may also be imposed by the US federal government and other government entities, and the company cannot predict whether the SEC, the US Department of Justice, or other government authorities in the US, China, or Hong Kong will pursue fines, penalties, or other sanctions, it added.

In 2011, Bruker spent $4.3 million in legal fees and other expenses related to the investigation, it said.