As part of the Department of Justice’s settlement with Google for $500 million for accepting advertising money from unlicensed online pharmacies, the DOJ has agreed to seal from the public evidence of wrong doing by Google executives, including CEO Larry Page.
The Justice Department said that the advertisements led to illegal imports of prescription drugs into the country. Justice Department officials contend that Google knew it was potentially violating U.S. law since at least 2003, but didn’t take effective action to ban the ads until it mounted an undercover sting operation against the Google in 2009, reports Reuters.
Justice Department officials assert that corporate level officers knew of the decision to do business with international criminals.
Said Peter Neronha, Rhode Island U.S. Attorney who led the investigation, “Larry Page knew what was going on. We know it from the investigation. We simply know it from the documents we reviewed, witnesses that we interviewed, that Larry Page knew what was going on,” reported the Wall Street Journal.
After US regulators warned Google in 2003 and in 2008 that they were aiding illegal fake pharmacies, Google allowed ads from fake so-called Canadian online pharmacies to target U.S. consumers until 2009, when it became aware of the government investigation, said the Justice Department.
Reported the Huffington Post, “Neronha, who said he would not prosecute the company further, helped pour over 4 million-plus documents and discovered emails and other information that indicate Page knew of the illegal ads. He concluded that it was not a matter of a few rogue customer service workers enabling the ads, but a corporate decision to allow them.”
“Suffice it to say that this is not two or three rogue employees at the customer service level doing this on their own,” Mr. Neronha said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “This was a corporate decision to engage in this conduct.”
Neronha however agreed to seal the documentation that confirms his assertions.