By Nate Raymond
BOSTON (Reuters) - The billionaire founder of Insys Therapeutics Inc, charged with engaging in a scheme to bribe doctors to prescribe an opioid, won the lifting of a requirement that he wear a GPS-enabled ankle monitor on Monday, which he said interfered with jogging.
While federal prosecutors had argued that John Kapoor's vast wealth made him a flight risk, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jennifer Boal in Boston said she had seen no evidence that he had any intention to flee.
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Boal said it appeared Kapoor had for years known he was under investigation, yet never tried to flee the country. India-born Kapoor, 74, is a naturalized U.S. citizen who has lived in the United States for over five decades.
Boal said in her four-page ruling that "other than arguing that Kapoor is wealthy and therefore has the means to flee, the government has not provided any evidence that Kapoor has any intent to flee."
Kapoor has pleaded not guilty to charges that he engaged in conspiracies to commit racketeering, mail fraud and wire fraud.
He stepped down as Insys chief executive officer and chairman in January but remains its majority shareholder. He had been subject to the electronic monitoring condition after he was released on a $1 million bond following his arrest in October.
Prosecutors had cited the Phoenix, Arizona-resident's $2 billion in assets in arguing the bracelet was a necessary bail condition.
"He's grateful for the ruling and looks forward to fighting the charges against him," said Brian Kelly, a lawyer for Kapoor at the law firm Nixon Peabody.
A spokeswoman for Acting U.S. Attorney William Weinreb declined to comment.
Kapoor was charged in an indictment that added him as a defendant in a case initially filed in December 2016 against six former Insys executives and managers, including ex-Chief Executive Michael Babich.
The case followed investigations centered on Insys product Subsys, an under-the-tongue spray that contains fentanyl, a synthetic opioid.
The indictment said that, beginning in 2012, Kapoor, Babich and others devised a scheme to pay speaker fees and other bribes to medical practitioners to prescribe Subsys and to defraud insurers into approving payment for the product.
Insys said in October it had recorded $150 million as its best estimate for the minimum amount it would pay to settle the U.S. Department of Justice probe.
(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)