January 17, 2013 -- A former employee of the China unit of Siemens, parent of Siemens Healthcare, has sued the company, charging that he was fired after uncovering a scheme to pay kickbacks in China for the purchase of medical equipment, according to a Bloomberg article.
In a whistleblower lawsuit filed in a New York City federal court, Meng-Lin Liu charges that he uncovered an alleged scheme to submit inflated bids to sell medical equipment, including MRI and CT scanners, to hospitals in China and North Korea. The equipment was then sold at lower prices to intermediaries, who sold the devices to the hospitals at full price, according to the January 15 article.
Liu, who joined Siemens in 2008, claims he was fired after presenting evidence of the scheme to the chief financial officer of Siemens' healthcare division in China. He further charged that the alleged activities occurred after Siemens signed a plea agreement in 2008 with the U.S. government and agreed to pay a $1.34 billion fine for violating terms of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits firms that operate in the U.S. from bribing foreign officials.
Siemens Healthcare spokesperson Lance Longwell declined to comment on the lawsuit, citing company policy regarding pending litigation.