NORCROSS, Ga., April 17 Immucor, Inc.,(Nasdaq: BLUD), a global leader in providing automated instrument-reagentsystems to the blood transfusion industry, announced today the first level ofthe Italian court case against CEO Gioacchino "Nino" De Chirico has concludedand will now move to the second level.
The tribunal in Milan rendered a guilty verdict in the first-level trialbased on an alleged improper cash payment of euro 13,500 by Immucor's Italiansubsidiary to a physician. The Italian criminal court system is muchdifferent from the U.S. system, and consists of three different levels. Atthe first and second levels both sides can present evidence and legalarguments; at the third level only legal arguments are considered. UnderItalian law, Dr. De Chirico will be considered innocent until all three levelshave been completed, which could take years.
The case centers on the activities of a well-known Italian physician andhospital administrator, and has focused on alleged improper cash payments byseveral companies, including the euro 13,500 payment by Immucor's Italiansubsidiary.
The company confirmed that the case is not against Immucor as acorporation. As previously reported, Immucor settled charges against itsItalian subsidiary in 2007, and that year also settled the SEC investigationagainst the company.
Immucor Chairman Joseph E. Rosen said: "Immucor's Board of Directors,from the beginning, maintained full transparency around the Italian criminalcharges, and the company has reported these proceedings since the situationarose in 2004. We self-reported the case to the SEC and fully cooperated withits investigation. As well, we cooperated with Italian authorities. Inaddition, the Board's Audit Committee ordered an internal investigationconducted by outside counsel into the charges and the events that led tothem."
"It has always been and continues to be the Board's strong desire thatNino should continue to lead Immucor and he remains the company's CEO with thefull support of the Board," Mr. Rosen continued. "The reasons for supportinghim are straightforward: the company has excelled under his leadership; hehas put together a strong management team; and his execution on our businessplan continues to be outstanding. His results speak for themselves: inrevenue, EPS and profitability, all have been phenomenal during his tenure asPresident and CEO, providing increased value to our shareholders. We havealways considered him a person of professional and personal integrity."
In 2005, based on its independent investigation, the Immucor Board's AuditCommittee concluded that the euro 13,500 payment was for services rendered ata medical conference. However, it also determined that the payment invoicefor those services resulted in a technical violation of Foreign CorruptPractices 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 ofreagents and systems used by hospitals, reference laboratories and donorcenters to detect and identify certain properties of the cell and serumcomponents of blood prior to transfusion. Immucor markets a complete family ofautomated instrumentation for all of our market segments.
For more information on Immucor, please visit our website atwww.immucor.com .
Statements contained in this press release that are not statements ofhistorical fact are "forward-looking statements" as that term is defined underfederal securities laws, including, without limitation, all statementsconcerning Immucor's expectations, beliefs, intentions or strategies for thefuture. Forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as"plans," "expects," "believes," "anticipates," "estimates," "projects," "may,""will," "could", "should" and