The New York Attorney General’s Office reportedly discovered the Sackler family’s $1 billion in wire transfers, owned by Purdue Pharma, which could suggest attempts to hide its wealth as it faces litigation over its role in the opioid crisis.
There are some transfers made through Swiss bank accounts, the New York Times revealed.
In an attempt to fully discover the family’s wealth, State Attorney General Letitia James (D) reportedly issued subpoenas last month to 33 financial institutions and investment advisers.
Forbes has estimated the family fortune to be worth $13 billion, a figure not disputed by the family, but many state attorneys general think the family has much more hidden away as a safeguard against the cascade of litigation.
“Records from one financial institution alone have shown approximately $1 billion in wire transfers between the Sacklers,” Ms. James said in a statement.
Besides the thousands of lawsuits in the state and federal courts aimed at Purdue itself, some 26 states have individually named the Sacklers, with more, most recently North Carolina, announcing that they are also about to pursue family members.
Reportedly, court papers submitted on Friday by James’ office show original results from an unnamed financial institution. Reportedly, the filing shows a series of transfers by Mortimer D.A. Sackler, a former Purdue board member.
According to the Times, lawyer David E. Nachman wrote from James’s office in a letter to the court: “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 back here in New York, sanitized until now of any readily detectable connections to the Sackler family.”
Purdue Pharma refused to comment, while a spokesperson for Mortimer D.A. Sackler dismissed allegations about wire transfers.
“Purdue has already produced more than 51 million pages of documents to the state, including voluminous financial and business information,” a lawyer representing Purdue said in a filing in the New York case. The firm seeks to quash subpoenas, calling them “premature, facially defective, overbroad” as well as “harassing, and an improper attempt to avoid the rules and procedures governing party discovery.”
The statement released on behalf of Mr. Sackler said: “There is nothing newsworthy about these decade-old transfers, which were perfectly legal and appropriate in every respect.”
But investigators believe that the initial records reviewed show that before a fair resolution can be reached, there is much more to learn.
The revelations come as Purdue Pharma has reached a tentative multibillion-dollar settlement over alleged role in the opioid crisis with state and local governments.