NORCROSS, Ga., April 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Immucor, Inc., (Nasdaq: BLUD), a global leader in providing automated instrument-reagent systems to the blood transfusion industry, announced today the first level of the Italian court case against CEO Gioacchino "Nino" De Chirico has concluded and will now move to the second level.
The tribunal in Milan rendered a guilty verdict in the first-level trial based on an alleged improper cash payment of euro 13,500 by Immucor's Italian subsidiary to a physician. The Italian criminal court system is much different from the U.S. system, and consists of three different levels. At the first and second levels both sides can present evidence and legal arguments; at the third level only legal arguments are considered. Under Italian law, Dr. De Chirico will be considered innocent until all three levels have been completed, which could take years.
The case centers on the activities of a well-known Italian physician and hospital administrator, and has focused on alleged improper cash payments by several companies, including the euro 13,500 payment by Immucor's Italian subsidiary.
The company confirmed that the case is not against Immucor as a corporation. As previously reported, Immucor settled charges against its Italian subsidiary in 2007, and that year also settled the SEC investigation against the company.
Immucor Chairman Joseph E. Rosen said: "Immucor's Board of Directors, from the beginning, maintained full transparency around the Italian criminal charges, and the company has reported these proceedings since the situation arose in 2004. We self-reported the case to the SEC and fully cooperated with its investigation. As well, we cooperated with Italian authorities. In addition, the Board's Audit Committee ordered an internal investigation conducted by outside counsel into the charges and the events that led to them."
"It has always been and continues to be the Board's strong desire that Nino should continue to lead Immucor and he remains the company's CEO with the full support of the Board," Mr. Rosen continued. "The reasons for supporting him are straightforward: the company has excelled under his leadership; he has put together a strong management team; and his execution on our business plan continues to be outstanding. His results speak for themselves: in revenue, EPS and profitability, all have been phenomenal during his tenure as President and CEO, providing increased value to our shareholders. We have always considered him a person of professional and personal integrity."
In 2005, based on its independent investigation, the Immucor Board's Audit Committee concluded that the euro 13,500 payment was for services rendered at a medical conference. However, it also determined that the payment invoice for those services resulted in a technical violation of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act provisions. Immucor self-reported this violation to the SEC, cooperated fully with that investigation and settled with the SEC in 2007.
Founded in 1982, Immucor manufactures and sells a complete line of reagents and systems used by hospitals, reference laboratories and donor centers to detect and identify certain properties of the cell and serum components of blood prior to transfusion. Immucor markets a complete family of automated instrumentation for all of our market segments.
For more information on Immucor, please visit our website at www.immucor.com .
Statements contained in this press release that are not statements of historical fact are "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined under federal securities laws, including, without limitation, all statements concerning Immucor's expectations, beliefs, intentions or strategies for the future. Forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as "plans," "expects," "believes," "anticipates," "estimates," "projects," "may," "will," "could", "should" and other words of similar meaning. Investors are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, and Immucor assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. Immucor urges investors to consider the risks detailed in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
SOURCE Immucor, Inc.