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GE CEO for Latin America arrested in Brazil

by Thomas Dworetzky , Contributing Reporter
General Electric CEO for Brazil, Daurio Speranzini Jr. was hit with an arrest warrant in Rio de Janeiro as part of a probe into a two-decade-old alleged healthcare racket – that took place while he was head of Philips Medical Systems in Brazil from 2004 to 2010.

The bust was part of a move that included 21 arrest warrants and and 44 warrants for searches by Brazil's Federal Police, according to Reuters.

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Ironically, the search warrants included buildings housing Philips and Johnson & Johnson enterprises. In addition, over $300 million in assets were frozen by the government.

GE said in a statement that, concerning the police action "that resulted in the temporary imprisonment of Daurio Speranzini Jr., we clarify that the allegations refer to a period in which the executive was leading a different company."

It added, "GE emphasizes that it is not the target of the investigation. The company believes that the facts will be clarified by the courts and the company is at the disposition of the authorities to cooperate."

Speranzini, who had played a number of roles at GE Healthcare since 2011, was tapped for the top spot in Latin America at the beginning of 2018.

Brazilian authorities allege the cartel included no fewer than 33 firms and ran its operations from 1996 until last year. The charges include “steering contracts with the state of Rio and a medical institute to members of the group, while working to disqualify competitors,” Reuters reported.

The group, claimed authorities, was led by Brazilian medical equipment distributor Oscar Iskin, and was dubbed the "international auctions club."

"Top executives from multinational medical equipment manufacturers arranged among themselves who would win contracts by paying a 13 percent commission on those contracts to Iskin," the public prosecutor stated, according to AFP.

Iskin's personnel, said authorities, were the “link between public health authorities and the cartel's companies."

Investigators claimed in court documents, according to Reuters, that they have “robust proof of participation” by him and others in the rigging practices.

GE has been in the news lately, as it repositions itself in the face of challenges that has seen it divest and restructure.
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