May 17, 2018 / 10:06 PM / 8 days ago

Brazil's Hypera in talks for leniency deal, could pay $540 mln fine -paper

SAO PAULO, May 17 (Reuters) - Brazilian pharmaceutical company Hypera SA is in talks to agree to a leniency deal with prosecutors that could include a 2 billion reais ($540 million) fine, newspaper Valor Economico reported on Thursday, an agreement that Hypera denied.

According to a report published on the paper’s website, which did not say how it obtained the information, the company, formerly known as Hypermarcas SA, is set to admit to paying bribes for tax benefits.

In a statement sent to Reuters, Hypera denied “having negotiated any leniency agreement with prosecutors.” Federal prosecutors did not immediately comment.

Last month, police raided the Sao Paulo offices of Hypera, Brazil’s largest listed producer of over the counter medicines, as part of a corruption investigation. The company said at the time that the investigation was a result of a plea bargain testimony of a former executive, Nelson Jose de Mello, and that the company itself was not a target of the probe.

Valor also reported on Thursday that Hypera’s chairman and controlling shareholder, Joao Alves de Queiroz Filho, and former chief executive Claudio Bergamo, were in talks to reach plea deals. Both resigned from their corporate roles at the company last month.

$1 = 3.697 Brazilian reais Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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