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Three Philips staff face corruption trial in Poland

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Three staff of the Polish branch of  electronics giant Philips are on trial in Poland, facing corruption charges  over a tender for medical equipment supplies to hospitals, a prosecutor said  Wednesday.

“The people have been accused of paying sums ranging from several million  to hundreds of millions of zlotys (euros, dollars) to 16 hospital officials in  exchange for tenders won by Philips,” said Andrzej Laskowski, spokesman for  the prosecutor in the western city of Poznan.

“A witness in the affair said the company had a special fund to cover  this,” he told AFP.

Philips, listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), said it was in talks  on the matter with the US Department of Justice and the US federal financial  markets watchdog, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).    Besides the three Philips Polska staff, including head of the department  for medical equipment and regional manager for southern Poland, 20 other  people will be put on trial in the southern Polish city of Katowice for the  affair dating back to 1999-2007.

“We have also started our own internal investigation and are fully  collaborating with the appropriate authorities,” Philips spokesman Steve Klink  told AFP contacted by telephone in the Netherlands.    “We cannot elaborate further as this is subject to an ongoing investigation  and court case,” he said.

In its latest annual report, the Philips group said that in the wake of the  Polish affair, it “has been conducting a review of certain activities related  to sales of medical equipment for potential violations of the U.S. Foreign  Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).”

“The company cannot at this time quantify meaningfully the possible loss or  range of loss to which this matter may give rise,” it added.

Warsaw, May 18, 2011 (AFP)