Philips looks into Russia sales after U.S. fund complaint

AMSTERDAM Tue Dec 24, 2013 4:53am EST

AMSTERDAM Dec 24 (Reuters) - Philips said it is looking into allegations that its medical equipment sales to Russia - one of the emerging markets where it is experiencing strong growth - ran afoul of the U.S. Magnitsky Act.

The act was passed in the United States with a view to sanctioning several Russian officials thought to be responsible for the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who worked for Hermitage Capital, an American fund which invested in Russia.

The Financial Times reported on Tuesday that a complaint had been filed by William Browder, the co-founder of Hermitage Capital, against Philips.

The newspaper said Browder alleged that Philips appeared to have violated U.S. sanctions laws by selling its ultrasound machines and CAT scanners to RT-Medintegrator, which it said had been headed by one of the Russian officials named in the Magnitsky Act.

"Philips is aware of Hermitage Capital's allegations. We are looking into the matter, but at this point we cannot provide any further comments," the company said in an emailed statement.

Philips shares were down 0.13 percent at 0935 GMT.

The Dutch healthcare equipment, lighting and consumer appliances group has started to reap the rewards of a turnaround strategy that includes increasing sales and profits in emerging markets such as Russia and China.