International business can be an ethical jungle, but it's rare to get details of bare-knuckle tactics on tape.
A lawyer in Mexico for a leading U.S. drug manufacturer offered to pay an opposing expert in a lawsuit if he would leave the country on a key court date to undermine the case.
The company, Baxter International Inc., promotes itself as a champion of global anticorruption efforts. Baxter said the lawyer was not authorized to make any offers, and it has severed all ties with him.
The recording and its disclosure offer an unusual glimpse of fishy maneuvers in the global marketplace and come as the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission crack down on misconduct by U.S. companies abroad, part of a multinational effort to clean up commerce.
Based near Chicago, Baxter is a major manufacturer of intravenous drugs and medical devices. Its medications are used to treat people with hemophilia, kidney disease, immune system problems, infectious diseases, serious burns and other conditions.
The lawyer was talking to accountant Rafael Aspuru Alvarez, an expert witness for Translog, a trucking company embroiled in a $25 million legal dispute with Baxter's subsidiary in Mexico.