Bio-Rad entangled in another lawsuit over foreign bribery

By Zachary Brennan

- Last updated on GMT

Bio-Rad entangled in another lawsuit over foreign bribery
The former general counsel of Bio-Rad Technologies sued the research company in California federal court last week, claiming he was illegally fired in 2013 after he blew the whistle on the company’s bribery in China.

The 20-year veteran of Bio-Rad, Sanford Wadler, said he was fired after he refused to be complicit in wrongdoing just prior to the company offering a status report on its FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) investigation to the DOJ (Department of Justice) and the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission).

The suit comes more than six months after Bio-Rad paid more than $55m to settle FCPA violations​ that occurred in Thailand, Vietnam and Russia from 2005 to 2009. The violations included $7.5m in improper payments made Bio-Rad to Russian, Thai and Vietnamese officials to win business.

At the time, Norman Schwartz, Bio-Rad president and CEO, said the company “took strong, decisive action to end the problematic practices and prevent anything like this from happening in the future​.”

But according to the suit from last week, a law firm representing Bio-Rad investigated whether similar violations occurred in China, and Wadler says he was surprised by the conclusion that there was no evidence of improper payments given that the company had hundreds of millions in sales in China.

Wadler says documents show that Bio-Rad distributors provided public universities and other government entities with kickbacks for giving business to the distributors.

Kerr & Wagstaffe partner Michael von Loewenfeldt, who’s defending Wadler, and Bio-Rad did not respond to requests for comment.

Bio-Rad’s attorneys have already disputed Wadler’s allegations in court and they also sought a protective order to keep certain documents confidential, according to Law 360​.

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