×

UPDATE 2-Insys founder resigns from board after charges in U.S. opioid bribe case

case@ (Adds context and details about a trust for Kapoor's shares, comment from Insys CEO, and resignation of Patrick Fourteau)

Oct 29 (Reuters) - The billionaire founder of Insys Therapeutics Inc, John Kapoor, has resigned from the company's board of directors, Insys said in a statement on Sunday. Kapoor was arrested on Thursday on U.S. charges he participated in a scheme to bribe doctors to prescribe a fentanyl-based cancer pain drug, marking a step by authorities to fight the opioid epidemic.

"I am confident that I have committed no crimes and believe I will be fully vindicated after trial," Kapoor said in a statement on Sunday.

Kapoor, Insys' majority shareholder who stepped down as chief executive in January, said on Sunday that his continued involvement with Arizona-based Insys would draw unnecessary attention to the company.

Kapoor plans to put his shares in a trust that will be independently controlled, he said. Insys board member Patrick Fourteau, who has served since 2011, has also resigned "for personal reasons," the company added.

Kapoor was charged with engaging in conspiracies to commit racketeering, mail fraud and wire fraud in an indictment filed in federal court in Boston.

The charges marked a major escalation of investigations related to Subsys, an under-the-tongue spray that contains fentanyl, an addictive synthetic opioid. They came as U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency.

Kapoor was added as a defendant in a case against six former Insys executives and managers, including former Chief Executive Michael Babich. Following a court hearing in Phoenix, Kapoor, 74, was released on a $1 million bond.

"We will continue to cooperate with ongoing investigations and strive to resolve them as circumstances permit," said Insys President and Chief Executive Officer Saeed Motahari, in a statement on Sunday.

Insys has previously disclosed that it was working to resolve a U.S. Justice Department probe.

Nasdaq Inc on Thursday, said it had halted Insys trading for "additional information requested." Insys' stock price fell 22.64 percent to close at $5.74 on Thursday. (Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn in New York and Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Sandra Maler)