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New York AG Uncovers $1B Wired by Sackler Family

Transfers boost suspicions that owners of OxyContin maker Purdue tried to shield wealth
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 14, 2019 5:30 AM CDT
Cars pass Purdue Pharma headquarters on Thursday in Stamford, Conn.   (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
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(Newser) – The family that owns OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma used Swiss and other hidden accounts to transfer $1 billion to themselves, New York's attorney general contends in court papers filed Friday. New York—asking a judge to enforce subpoenas of companies, banks, and advisers to Purdue and its owners, the Sackler family—said it has uncovered the previously unknown wire transfers among family members, entities they control, and several financial institutions, per the AP. The transfers bolster allegations by New York and other states that the Sacklers worked to shield their wealth in recent years because of mounting worries about legal threats. Scores of those transactions sent millions of dollars to Mortimer DA Sackler, a former member of Purdue's board and a son of one of its founders, per the filings.

They point to $20 million shifted from a Purdue parent company to Sackler, who then redirected substantial amounts to shell companies that own family homes in Manhattan and the Hamptons. Another $64 million in transfers to Sackler came from a previously unknown family trust, using a Swiss account, per prosecutors. The filing follows decisions by that state and others to reject a tentative settlement with Purdue, announced this week, arguing it doesn't do enough to make amends for the company's and family's alleged roles in flooding US communities with prescription painkillers. As part of the settlement, Purdue is likely to soon file for bankruptcy protection. But New York and other states have promised they'll continue to pursue the Sacklers, alleging that family members drained more than $4 billion from the company over the past dozen years. (Read more OxyContin stories.)

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