The Sackler family (previously) made more money than the Rockefellers when their family business, Purdue Pharma, misled the public about the addictiveness of its flagship opioid, Oxycontin, and induced doctors to overprescribe it, kicking off an epidemic that has killed more Americans than the Vietnam war, with the body count at 400,000 and still climbing.
Until recently, the Sacklers were best known as "philanthropists," having perfected the reputation-washing playbook that corrupt oligarchs have used to rehabilitate their name since the gilded age robber-barons like Carnegie invented it.
But the Sacklers have since been embroiled in a series of federal and state criminal proceedings, as well as numerous civil cases, and these have revealed the family's complicity in the death toll, which recently prompted to family to agree to bankrupt Purdue and hand control of it, as well as $3b in cash, to settle the suits against them.
The family claimed that their total take from Purdue had amounted to $4b, and that the settlement would strip them of the gains from their illegal and unethical activities, but prosecutors have long argued that the Sacklers used shadowy money-laundering techniques to hide billions offshore, funnelling one billion dollars through a single bank.
Now, 24 States' Attorneys General have objected to the settlement, joining forces with lawyers representing 500 cities, counties and tribal governments. They deposed a company advisor who put the figure at $12b, not $4b, and the attorneys argue that settling outstanding lawsuits for $3b would allow the Sacklers to retain the bulk of the profits they received from their company's participation in mass overdoses and immiseration.
The family denies that they contributed to the opioid crisis.
"The distribution numbers do not reflect the fact that many billions of dollars from that amount were paid in taxes and reinvested in businesses that will be sold as part of the proposed settlement," said Daniel S. Connolly, a lawyer for family members facing lawsuits who are related to the late Raymond Sackler, one of the modern Purdue's co-founders, in a statement.
A spokesman for relatives of another deceased company co-founder, Mortimer Sackler, who also face litigation, had no immediate comment.
Purdue had no immediate comment on the payments. The company and family have denied allegations they contributed to the U.S. opioid crisis.
Sacklers reaped up to $13 billion from OxyContin maker, U.S. states say [Mike Spector and Nate Raymond/Reuters]
(via Naked Capitalism)