Johnson & Johnson is under investigation by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and Brazilian prosecutors for allegedly paying off officials in the South American country to gain government contracts to sell medical devices, Reuters reported.
The news agency said that, according to prosecutors from Brazil, more than 20 companies have been part of the alleged 20-year scheme, including Siemens AG, General Electric Co. and Koninklijke Philips NV. Along with Johnson & Johnson, the four companies are the only ones included in the FBI investigation, Brazilian officials told Reuters.
The companies could be charged fines or face other penalties as per the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act that prohibits such payments to secure business overseas.
Brazilian authorities called the group of companies a "cartel" that offers bribes and overcharges the government for the medical equipment.
The investigation of Brazil's state-run oil company Petrobras has put businesses and political entities in the region under a spotlight, and plea bargains in that case have expanded the target to bribery from international corporations, officials told Reuters.
In an interview with the news agency, a Brazilian prosecutor said the scheme is "truly massive" and that the case "is just a tiny sliver of what is to come."
Johnson & Johnson did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.