Medical device maker Medtronic Inc paid almost $800,000 in consulting fees to a former U.S. Army surgeon accused of fabricating a key study, according to published reports.

The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal said the payments were made to Timothy Kuklo, who is accused of making up a report that showed positive results for Infuse, one of Medtronic's important spine products.

The newspapers reported that the Army had said the study was based on false information, and that Kuklo had forged signatures of purported co-authors of the study.

Medtronic told The Wall Street Journal that the payments were compensation for Kuklo's work developing products for the company, training doctors and speaking at company events.

The company told the Journal that the payments were not connected to the study.

Medtronic told the Times that it was not involved in any way with the challenged report. The newspaper said Kuklo, now an assistant medical professor at Washington University in St. Louis, has repeatedly declined to comment on the situation.

Medtronic was not immediately available for comment outside normal business hours.

(Reporting by Paul Thomasch; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)