The New York Attorney General’s Office was able to identify shell companies that were used to conceal the Sacklers’ riches.
Members of the Sackler family have been accused of trying to conceal their wealth, as they try to settle some 2,000 lawsuits alleging that the family-owned company Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of OxyContin, contributed to the opioid crisis.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said that her office discovered about $1 billion in wire transfers made by the Sackler family to various entities including real estate holdings.
The wire transfers were uncovered as a result of just one of 33 subpoenas issued by James to various financial institutions, seeking information about the family’s wealth. Forbes listed the Sacklers as the 19th richest American family in 2016 with a net worth of $13 billion.
James’ office was able to identify shell companies that were used to conceal the Sacklers’ riches.
“While the Sacklers continue to lowball victims and skirt a responsible settlement, we refuse to allow the family to misuse the courts in an effort to shield their financial misconduct,” said James in a statement. “The limited number of documents provided to us so far underscore the necessity for compliance with every subpoena.”
Sackler Rep Says Transfers “Were Perfectly Legal”
A representative for Mortimer D.A. Sackler, a former Purdue Pharma board member, denied James’ suggestion that the family has been trying to protect their wealth from the barrage of lawsuits from states, counties, cities and tribal governments across the U.S.
“There is nothing newsworthy about these decade-old transfers, which were perfectly legal and appropriate in every respect,” they stated. “This is a cynical attempt by a hostile AG’s office to generate defamatory headlines to try to torpedo a mutually beneficial settlement that is supported by so many other states and would result in billions of dollars going to communities and individuals across the country that need help.”
A lawyer for Purdue Pharma argued in a court filing against subpoena action by the AG’s office, but a lawyer for the AG’s office said they have already helped uncover “shell companies” used by the family to hide their wealth.
“Already, these records have allowed the State to identify previously unknown shell companies that one of the Sackler Defendants used to shift Purdue money through accounts around the world and then conceal it in at least two separate multimillion-dollar real estate investments here in New York, sanitized (until now) of any readily-detectable connections to the Sackler family,” said David E. Nachman in a letter to the court.
On Monday, it was reported that Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy after reaching a tentative settlement that could be worth up to $12 billion over time, according to AP News. However, not everyone is onboard with the proposed settlement.