Sept. 13 (UPI) -- The Sackler family has transferred $1 billion from Purdue Pharma, a pharmaceutical company they own, to their own bank accounts to avoid relinquishing the funds amid legal action over the company's involvement in the opioid crisis, the New York attorney general office said Friday in a court filing.
Attorney General Letitia James accused the family of using Swiss bank accounts to transfer the money and protect it from legal liabilities.
"Records from one financial institution alone have shown approximately $1 billion in wire transfers between the Sacklers, entities they control, and different financial institutions, including those that have funneled funds into Swiss bank accounts," she said.
The court documents come two days after Purdue Pharma reached a tentative $3 billion settlement with 23 states and 2,300 local governments that sued the company. The jurisdictions accused the Sackler family of directing the company to downplay health risks associated with opioids by saying the prescription drug was rarely the cause of abuse, addiction or death.
Under the agreement, the Sackler family will pay around $3 billion in cash over a period of years and relinquish control of the company in order to likely avoid going to trial. Under the deal that was negotiated over several months, Purdue Pharma would be dissolved and a new company would be formed with any future profit it gains from the sale of OxyContin going to communities struggling with opioid addiction.
While Republican attorneys general were mainly in favor of the agreement Wednesday, their Democratic counterparts balked at it. Forbes estimates the family's worth is about $13 billion.
"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," James said.