Three Philips employees including the former director of Philips Poland are appearing in court next month. They are accused of bribing Polish hospital managers to buy all their medical equipment from the Dutch multinational.
Revelations in the Dutch Financieele Dagblad newspaper and on NOS public TV indicate that Philips has been bribing hospital managers in Poland for years. The present affair surfaced after an intermediary involved in the scam went to the Polish judicial authorities.
In reality, hospital managers who needed new equipment were being bribed by Philips. In return for the money, they adjusted their technical requirements so that these could only be met by Philips products. Even if Mr Kulig got the order, he would end up delivering equipment made by Philips. He also says he acted as intermediary, handing over cases of money to hospital managers.
He maintains that all the profits made by Philips Poland between 2000 and 2007 were the result of bribery.
He reported the fraud to the authorities after having a business disagreement with Philips. Under Polish law, he is not liable to prosecution because he acted as a whistleblower.
He can’t be sure whether Philips head office in the Netherlands knew what was going on, but he claims those at the top of Philips Poland must have been aware of the situation. Although, at meetings of regional directors attended by Mr Kulig, people never talked about bribes, they did use the term ‘flowers’.
The board of Philips in the Netherlands has launched an investigation into the bribery. The company is refusing to comment before the results are known.
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Radio Netherlands Worldwide 17/05/2011