Valeant Plunges On BBG Report Former CEO, CFO Are Focus Of Criminal Probe For Accounting Fraud

While details are still lacking, moments ago Valeant stock plunged on a Bloomberg report that the Ex-CEO and ex-CFO are the target of a criminal probe due to accounting fraud.

According to Bloomberg, U.S. prosecutors are focusing on Valeant Pharmaceuticals’ former CEO and CFO as they build a fraud case against the company that could yield charges within weeks, according to people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg News reports. More details:

Authorities are looking into potential accounting fraud charges related to the company’s hidden ties to Philidor Rx Services LLC, a specialty pharmacy company that Valeant secretly controlled, the people said. Federal prosecutors in Manhattan and agents at the Federal Bureau of Investigation in New York have been investigating the company for at least a year.

 

Prosecutors are examining the actions of J. Michael Pearson, Valeant’s former chief executive officer, and Howard Schiller, the ex-chief financial officer who became interim CEO during a medical leave by Pearson, according to the people, who discussed the confidential proceedings on the condition of anonymity. Prosecution of individual executives could go beyond just those two, one person said, adding that Philidor executives could also be charged.

 

“We are in frequent contact and continue to cooperate” with U.S. authorities, Valeant said in a written statement. “We do not comment on rumors about investigations, and cannot comment on or speculate about the possible course of any ongoing investigation. Valeant takes these matters seriously and intends to uphold the highest standards of ethical conduct.”

On the news, VRX stock, which has had many aborted attempts to break solidly above the $20 level, just got dragged back in the teens.

 

Valeant issued the following statement in response:

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. (NYSE: VRX and TSX: VRX) ("Valeant") today issued the following statement regarding comments attributed to anonymous sources in a press report regarding the ongoing investigation being conducted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York:

 

"As Valeant previously stated in response to a prior, similar press report, the Company previously disclosed in October 2015 that the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York commenced an investigation involving Valeant. We have been fully cooperating with the authorities throughout the investigation, and we are in frequent contact and continue to cooperate with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York.  We do not comment on rumors about investigations, and cannot comment on or speculate about the possible course of any ongoing investigation.

 

"Valeant takes these matters seriously and intends to uphold the highest standards of ethical conduct as we move forward with our mission to improve people's lives with our healthcare products."