(Reuters) - Medical device maker Orthofix International NV will pay $5.2 million to settle charges that its Mexican subsidiary paid bribes to government officials to obtain sales contracts with hospitals, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said.
The SEC alleged the company's Promeca subsidiary regularly paid bribes, referred to as "chocolates," in the form of cash, laptop computers, televisions and appliances in a scheme that yielded nearly $5 million in illegal profits over a period of seven years.
The company, which makes spinal and orthopedic products, spent more than $300,000 to sweeten deals with Mexican officials from 2003 to 2010, the agency said.
There was no immediate comment from Mexican authorities.
Promeca falsely recorded the bribes as cash advances and falsified invoices or recorded them as promotional and training costs, according to the SEC's complaint, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The proposed settlement is subject to court approval.
The company has fired the Promeca executives who orchestrated the bribery scheme, the SEC said.
An Orthofix spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.
Orthofix also disclosed in a U.S. regulatory filing that it has reached an agreement with the Department of Justice to pay a $2.22 million penalty in a related action.
In a separate case, the company in June said it would pay about $34 million to settle a probe into the marketing of its bone growth stimulation products.
Shares of Orthofix fell 15 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $41.00 in afternoon trading on Nasdaq.
(Reporting By Susan Kelly; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Sofina Mirza-Reid)