Friedman Kaplan Client Acquitted of All Charges at Corruption Trial in Greece

July 29, 2019

After a lengthy trial spanning almost three years and including the testimony of 73 witnesses, a Greek court today acquitted Friedman Kaplan's client, a UK national, of charges of fraud, bribery, and money laundering. Our client was charged as part of a large and long-running investigation into whether individuals working for Greek and British subsidiaries of Johnson & Johnson had been involved in a scheme to bribe orthopedic surgeons in Greece to use products manufactured by DePuy International, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary. 

Friedman Kaplan partner Mary Mulligan has represented the client since 2008, in connection with investigations first initiated by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO). In 2011, prior to the onset of the Greek investigation, DOJ and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) concluded multi-year investigations into the alleged corrupt conduct, resulting in Johnson & Johnson entering into a settlement with the SEC and a deferred prosecution agreement with DOJ, and paying significant sums of money to resolve the charges; no individuals were prosecuted or had civil charges filed against them.  The SFO concurrently investigated, and in 2011, it, too, entered into a financial settlement with Johnson & Johnson. 

After these resolutions, Greek authorities commenced their own investigation in 2014. Since that time, Mulligan and firm counsel Bonnie Baker, associate Nora Bojar, and former associate Elizabeth Macchiaverna have represented the firm's client. 

At the trial, which commenced in Athens in 2016, local Greek counsel George Pyromallis handled the client’s courtroom defense.  The trial involved 30 defendants from Greece, Switzerland, and the UK, most of whom were convicted of the charges against them.

Complex evidentiary issues abounded in the case.  Former U.S. District Judge John Gleeson, a partner at Debevoise, offered expert testimony as to why a deferred prosecution agreement entered into in the U.S. by a company and DOJ should be inadmissible against the individual defendants who were former employees of the company. Amanda Pinto QC testified as an expert witness on abuse of process in English criminal law, mutual legal assistance, and the Serious Fraud Office.

"We could not be happier with this result and the full exoneration our client - we truly believe that justice has been served," said Ms. Mulligan.