Pharma Firm pays $25m to Resolve Corrupt Payments

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that Paris-based pharmaceutical company Sanofi has agreed to pay more than $25 million to resolve charges that its Kazakhstan and the Middle East subsidiaries made corrupt payments to win business.

According to the SEC’s order, the schemes spanned multiple countries and involved bribe payments to government procurement officials and healthcare providers in order to be awarded tenders and to increase prescriptions of its products.

In the Middle East, various pay-to-prescribe schemes were used to induce healthcare providers to increase their prescriptions of Sanofi products.

In Iraq, for example, a healthcare professional (HCP) requesting samples of Taxotere in 2012 was also provided with consulting, speaking, and clinical trial fees over a period of years despite the lack of documentation of other support to demonstrate the services had been provided. Sanofi paid to the HCP the equivalent in local currency of USD 28,900 in consulting fees and, USD 5500 in speaking fees.

Sanofi also paid to the HCP USD 125,997 in clinical trial fees. The consulting fees were purportedly related to hosting events and training for HCPs in Iraq. No supporting documentation was found for any of the purported consultancy services. While the clinical trial fees were approved by Medical Affairs, the HCP has never provided reports of findings or observations.

The HCP, who provided the ostensible speaking, consulting, and clinical trial services to Sanofi, requested that the consulting and clinical trial fees be paid by check to an unrelated individual.

Sanofi accommodated the request to pay the unrelated individual without explanation or justification.

“Bribery in connection with pharmaceutical sales remains as a significant problem despite numerous prior enforcement actions involving the industry and life sciences more generally,” said Charles Cain, FCPA Unit Chief, SEC Enforcement Division. “While bribery risk can impact any industry, this matter illustrates that more work needs to be done to address the particular risks posed in the pharmaceutical industry.”

The SEC’s order finds that Sanofi violated the books and records and internal accounting controls provisions of the federal securities laws. Without admitting or denying the findings, Sanofi agreed to a cease-and-desist order and to pay $17.5 million in disgorgement, $2.7 million in prejudgment interest, and a civil penalty of $5 million.

The SEC appreciates the assistance of Fraud Section of the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Autorité des marchés financiers in France.

(Source: SEC)

France supports Explosive Hazards Management in Iraq

The Government of France supports Explosive Hazards Management to enable Humanitarian and Stabilization Efforts in Liberated Areas

The United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has welcomed a first contribution of EUR 500,000 (USD 590,000) from the Government of France dedicated to explosive hazard management in support of humanitarian and stabilization efforts.

The presence of explosive hazards, including improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in areas liberated from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), will continue to impede security and stability efforts until they are cleared and rendered safe.

Approximately 1.9 million civilians are still displaced in Iraq due to the recent conflict and unsafe conditions to allow their return. It is estimated that 21% of internally displaced persons (IDPs) are not planning to return to their area of origin because of the presence of explosive hazards and IEDs (REACH/CCCM Cluster ‘Intentions Survey’, January 2018).

The Government of Iraq maintains explosive hazard management capacities within a number of government entities and established mine action authorities, though the demand for assistance far exceeds the resources available.

With this first contribution from France, UNMAS will increase capacity to conduct survey and clearance of liberated areas suspected to be affected by explosive hazards in Anbar, Ninewa, Kirkuk, Salah al-Din, and Diyala Governorates.

UNMAS Iraq will more specifically coordinate the deployment of appropriate clearance capacity in priority locations depending on assessments in direct support of the Government of Iraq, UN plans and humanitarian assistance efforts as well as in coordination with relevant UN agencies.

In collaboration with the Directorate of Mine Action (DMA), risk education will be also provided to those living in and returning to liberated areas known to be contaminated by explosive hazards. Finally, this donation will help UNMAS to further enhance Governmental authorities’ ability to better manage, regulate and coordinate response to the current contamination through training and advisory support.

The French Ambassador to Iraq, Mr. Bruno Aubert (pictured) said:

“This contribution testifies not only to the concrete commitment of France alongside Iraqis but also to a desire for effective collaboration with all our partners to develop concrete projects for the reconstruction of Iraq”.

Mr. Pehr Lodhammar, UNMAS Senior Programme Manager, stated:

“This first contribution from the Government of France will make a significant difference. It will not only support UNMAS efforts to address the threat posed by explosive hazards, but also contribute to the safe and dignified return of displaced communities.”

(Source: UN)

Iraq opens Kirkuk Airport for Civil Aviation in Aug

Kirkuk Airport will open for domestic and international flights in August, an Iraqi official announced on Monday, Anadolu reports.

Rakan al-Jubouri, the governor of Kirkuk, told reporters that experts from the Ministry of Transportation would arrive in Kirkuk shortly to confirm the date of the first landing.

Kirkuk Airport will serve millions of people from Diyala, Saladin, and Mosul,” said al-Jubouri who revealed that the airport would be operated by a French company.

A total of six airports remain operational in cities like Baghdad, Basra, Najaf, Mosul and within the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).

Kirkuk Airport had been used by the US Air Force as a military airbase since the 2003 US invasion. It was handed over to Iraqi authorities in November 2011.

(Source: Middle East Monitor)

De-mining Operations Re-Start in Sinjar

Nadia’s Initiative is excited to announce de-mining operations in Sinuni, a sub-district in the Yazidi homeland of Sinjar have been restarted. This important effort comes after facing months of hurdles to re-establish operations across Nineveh Province.

We would like to give special thanks to President Macron of France for acting on his commitment to de-mine the region and the United States Weapons and Removal and Abatement Office, with support from the U.S. Vice President’s Office.

The Yazidis suffered an unimaginable attack in August 2014, despite having lived in Sinjar for thousands of years. IS continues to ruthlessly target the region because of its spiritual and cultural significance. Forcing the Yazidis from the area, destroying their villages, religious sites, and community structures is an attempt to erase them from history – an explicit genocidal program.

De-mining the region will help to ensure the survival of the Yazidi community. Nadia’s Initiative believes the world has a responsibility to act – to make “never again” a reality, not simply words without actions. Nadia’s Initiative is working to engage world leaders, encouraging them to recognize the moral imperative to offer assistance to demine the region.

Thus far, France and the US have committed funds to begin the process but we ask on world leaders to join the effort and save the Yazidi community from extinction.

It is possible for Yazidis living in Iraq to return to their homes. It is possible to rebuild infrastructure. Together, we have the capacity and common interest in de-mining the land.

As we proceed with this important work, we ask all nations, especially signatories of the genocide convention, to join us in cooperation and unity. A small contribution from everyone will make the collective burden light.

We need to see reconstruction, not as a competition for resources amongst victims, but a holistic and mutually supportive process that does not leave gaps in our collective security. We are asking the world to adopt a way of thinking that leads us away from the madness of genocide. How we recover and re-build can define us, leaving a powerful example and safer world for our children.

For Additional Information Please Contact:

Abid Shamden

Elizabeth Schaeffer Brown

(Source: Nadia’s Initiative)

Total may Bid for Nassirya Oil Refinery

By John Lee.

France’s Total is said to be interested in bidding to build the greenfield 150,000-bpd Nassirya oil refinery.

The Director General of the Dhi Qar Oil Company (DQOC), Ali Warid Hammood, told Reuters at the CWC Iraq Petroleum Conference in Berlin that bids are still open for the project, and that international oil companies interested in the project would be bidding as refiners only.

The project was initially offered as part of the Nassiriya Integrated Project (NIP), tying it to oilfield development. In January 2018, Iraq dropped the NIP, saying it will rely on a newly formed state oil company to develop the Nassiriya oil field, and leaving only the nearby refinery project for investors.

Hammood confirmed to Reuters that DQOC will develop the field by itself.

It is currently producing 80,000-100,000 barrels of oil per day, with plans to double capacity within three years.

(Source: Reuters)

Iraqi Encourages French Companies to Invest

By John Lee.

Oil Minister Jabar Ali al-Luaibi [Allibi, Luiebi] has hosted a meeting in Baghdad with the French Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, confirming the significance of the economic and financial relations between the two countries.

Both sides expressed hopes for major cooperation in all sectors, including oil, industrial, agricultural, commercial, transportation, and housing.

Mr. Lemoyne said that he saw a keenness from the Iraqi side to encourage and invite the French companies to invest in Iraq.

(Source: Office of the Iraqi Prime Minister)

Alstom to Develop Rail Projects in Baghdad, Basra

French company Alstom has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Iraqi government for the development of urban transport in Baghdad and Basra.

The MoU was signed during the Franco-Iraqi government authorities meeting, in the presence of Dr.Sami Al Araji, Head of National Investment Commission (NIC) of Iraq and Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, French Secretary of State.

The MoU covers two major projects. The first project is to implement a 20 km Elevated Train in Baghdad, with the supply of rolling stock, electromechanical systems, tracks, associated civil works. The light rail system would link Al-Mustansirya, AlShab, Al-Wazyria, Alsarafia AlEtafia bridge, Al-Khadumia, AlMuthana airport and Al-Alawi.

The second project focuses on the development of the Metro System in Basra, which consists of two elevated lines of approximately 30km each, 15 stations and one depot for each line from North to South, from Zubair to Shat Alarab and from East to West, from Karma to the Desert.

These projects would significantly contribute to the development of the country’s urban infrastructure and national economy.

“We appreciate the opportunity to develop industrial cooperation with the Republic of Iraq, in order to better address the country’s needs for urban transportation. Alstom is ready to bring its innovative technologies and sees the signature of this MoU as a first step towards the development of a long-term partnership with Iraq”, said Bernard Peille, Managing Director of Alstom in Western & Central Asia.

Alstom is already well established in the Middle East & Africa Region with more than 3,800 employees, 1,800 suppliers and present in more than 15 countries in the region with offices and joint-ventures in Algeria, Morocco, South Africa and Kazakhstan.

(Source: Alstom)

Al-Abadi meets French President Emmanuel Macron

At the beginning of the meeting, the French President welcomed the Prime Minister, stressing the great interest in this visit and expressed the common desire of the two countries to develop friendly relations and cooperation. He also congratulated the victories achieved by the Iraqi forces and the success achieved by Iraqis in liberating their country.

The two leaders held a bilateral meeting and then proceeded to preside over the joint expanded governmental meeting, followed by a joint press conference.

Prime Minister Al-Abadi thanked President Macron for the invitation to visit France, stressing Iraq’s pride in the level of the bilateral relations and the great opportunities for development in the economic and trade fields, and thanked the French government for the offer of 430 million euros loan to support the Iraqi budget and contribute to financial stability in Iraq.

PM Al-Abadi said Iraq is a success story and we want to preserve the unity and sovereignty of our country, and continue cooperation between our two countries in confronting Daesh and the establishment of security and peace. The Prime Minister announced the liberation of Hawija, congratulating Iraqis and the world on this victory which was achieved with the heroic acts of Iraqis and only the border area with Syria is left to liberate.

PM Al-Abadi declared that the referendum in the Kurdish region is a departure from the Constitution and has been rejected by the Federal Court and the government and parliament, and we must restore the authority of the federal state to the region and all Iraq, with our utmost care for the Kurdish people and respect for the aspirations of all Iraqis, calling on the Peshmerga to fight alongside the Iraqi army to achieve security and stability under the leadership of the federal authority.

“We stand with you in peace, as we have stood with you in the war, and we will continue to support Iraq to win together the war against peace and peace and we will continue our military, security and economic commitment,” Macron said, referring to his country’s support for Iraq’s unity and territorial integrity and building strategic cooperation relations, expressing his country’s readiness to provide all that will achieve security and stability for Iraq and its people.

(Source: Office of the Prime Minister)

Abadi meets French Business Leaders

By John Lee.

Iraqi Prime Minister Dr. Haider Abadi has visited the headquarters of the largest French employers organization in Paris and held a meeting with the heads of 25 major French companies.

The Mouvement des Entreprises de France (MEDEF) has more than 750,000 member firms, 90 percent of them being small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with fewer than 50 employees.

At a separate meeting during his visit to Paris, the French Government agreed to subsidise Iraqi students accepted on further education courses in France.

(Source: Office of the Prime Minister)

France to Lend $515m to Iraq in 2017

Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, visited Iraq on 25 and 26 August with Ms Florence Parly, Minister for the Armed Forces.

Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian met with the President of the Republic of Iraq, Mr Fuad Masum, the Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, and his Iraqi counterpart, Mr Ibrahim al-Jaafari. He also met with Kurdish authorities, including the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Mr Masoud Barzani.

The victory of Iraqi forces in Mosul represents a decisive blow to Daesh’s territorial claims, and the group’s grasp on Iraqi territory continues to weaken. This battle was launched in October 2016 with the French army providing support to the Iraqi forces whose bravery is commended by Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian.

The fight against Daesh must continue in order to liberate the areas of Iraq still under occupation, notably Tal Afar, Hawija and the Anbar province. Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian provided reassurance of France’s constant commitment alongside the Iraq to defeat the terrorist organization and also stressed the need to protect civilians.

France will support the stabilization and reconstruction of Iraq to achieve sustainable peace which reconciles all parts of Iraqi society. It is with this goal in mind that Mr Jean-Yves Le Drian confirmed the attribution of a loan of €430 million [$515 million] to Iraq for 2017. This loan will allow the country to access international funding programmes with greater ease, something which is key to helping the reconstruction phase.

This visit also gives new momentum to the relationship between France and Iraq in all areas. France wishes to develop its links with Iraq in all fields, including political dialogue, economic relations or cooperation efforts.

(Source: French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs)