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Island linked with medical bribery case

Johnson and Johnson, the world's second biggest seller of medical products, is to pay out $70 million after admitting it used companies in the Isle of Man to bribe doctors in Europe and pay kickbacks in Iraq.

The medical giant was charged by the American Securities and Exchange Commission, which alleged executives had paid bribes in Iraq to win contracts and sell its products.

Filings at a US District Court in Washington say subsidiaries of Johnson and Johnson paid bribes to doctors and hospital administrators in Greece, Poland and Romania.

The SEC says the firm used slush funds, sham contracts and off-shore companies in the Isle of Man to carry out the bribery.

The payout means the company will cough up $48 million in disgorgement and interest to settle the claims and a $21.4 million fine.

It will also have to report on compliance measures every six months for three years.

An internal audit group at Johnson and Johnson discovered the payments in early 2006 after a whistleblower complained.

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