Former civil servants, Roche employees sentenced to prison in overpricing case
Dinçer Gökçe - ISTANBUL
REUTERS PhotoA number of former civil servants from the state-run Social Security Agency (SGK) and pharmaceutical company executives were sentenced to more than four years in prison on March 11, upon charges of overpricing drugs sold to the Turkish Health Ministry.
The case was opened 12 years ago upon indictments claiming that a number of officials and company executives were involved with selling overpriced medicines to the SGK, which was then dubbed the SSK.
Five former SGK officials were sentenced to five years imprisonment each by the court, but their jail terms were decreased to four years and two months due to their descent manner in court.
Three former Roche executives, including former company CEO Faruk Yöneyman, and two former representatives from the Beşer Pharmaceutical Warehouse were handed matching jail terms of five years, which were likewise dropped to four years and two months.
The defendants were also deprived of the right to vote or run for office until their jail terms are up.
Meanwhile, a total of eight defendants were acquitted by the court over time limit conditions.
The defendants were detained in 2004, but were later freed without being convicted after a long legal process, which lead to the time limit decision. The trial started again in 2015 after the high court reversed the time limit decision.
Facing a ban on not being allowed to enter new government tenders, the firm completely changed its executive staff. Later, Roche Turkey management said they had compensated the Health Ministry by paying the damages they had caused. However, 29 other firms that are being sued do not have any such compensation deal with the ministry.
Former Roche employee Veysi Mungan faced trial in 2005 after complaints filed by Roche for allegedly blackmailing the company, which later led to a police raid and the detention of 17 people. As the previous court had acquitted him, a new decision was not made.