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Italian Health Minister Sirchia Denies Receiving Money From Immucor


The Italian minister of health Girolamo Sirchia, formerly head of the Blood Transfusion Center of Milan's Policlinic, denied having received payments from Immucor, a multinational blood bank technology and diagnostics firm. However documentary evidence obtained by Italian judges Maurizio Romanelli e Eugenio Fusco from Immucor seem to indicate that checks made out to Sirchia were sent to Switzerland and cashed there.

Immucor "identified certain weaknesses in internal controls in the Italian subsidiary" and is "in the process of strengthening those internal controls", according to a PR Newswire announcement. The statement also says that "the Company has undertaken a thorough review of the books and records of the Italian subsidiary with the assistance of forensic audit personnel from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. That review has identified a number of improperly recorded transactions totaling approximately $730 thousand."

The Price Waterhouse report lists 90 payments to medical doctors, of which 20 appear to be legally "doubtful". Sirchia is listed as one of the recipients, and according to the Italian newsagency ANSA, the report, now in possession of the judges who are investigating, documents four payments in 1998 and 1999, for a total of $ 35,000. Apparently the German Immucor subsidiary made out checks to Sirchia, which were sent by UPS to Switzerland. An employee of the Lugano Chapter of Union Bank of Switzerland receives the checks and puts them on an account: $ 15,000 on 4 June 1998, $ 9,000 on 9 September 1998, $ 6,000 on 24 November 1999. Another payment of $ 5,000 are registered as "staff travel".

Sirchia says: "I do not know anything about this".

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(AGI) - Rome, Italy, Feb. 2 - "I read the newspapers, and I asked my lawyers how things are. I haven't received any official statements. I will try to understand things better," said Health Minister Girolamo Sirchia, on the sidelines of a convention in reference to the Immucor probe. The US pharmaceutical giant has allegedly given photocopies of checks made out to Sirchia dating from 1998-1999, when he was the head of the Milan Transfusion Centre. (AGI) .

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