Lawyer Jorge Hernandez Marin had a novel alleged approach to an opposing expert in litigation on behalf of drug maker Baxter International: take this ticket, money, and don’t call me in the morning. Marin was reportedly caught on tape offering to double the fee of the opposing expert, accountant Rafael Aspuru Alvarez, and giving him a free ticket to Las Vegas or some other city if he made himself unavailable.
Marin is shown telling the expert:
“Tomorrow I’ll buy you a ticket to New York. You go to New York with your wife. And you say that your son fell. He broke his leg on a bicycle in Manhattan and you had to go. And that’s why you didn’t accept the assignment. If it’s better for you, and you tell me, ‘You know, yes, I accept your offer’ — it’s an example— ‘You know, but not New York, I want to go to Las Vegas.’ Tomorrow, eh?
. . .
If you tell me, ‘You know, I was going to charge 100,000 pesos (about $8,100),’ I’ll pay you double.”
Baxter spokeswoman Laureen Cassidy is quoted as saying the offer was not serious or approved by the company and “does not constitute bribery under Mexican law and was never acted upon.”
Yet, on the recording, Marin tells the expert “I told the company.”
The U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Acts makes it a crime to bribe foreign officials to obtain or retain business. This expert is not an official, but it is not clear whether the Justice Department will try to read the term broadly (as it has in the past) to extend beyond government officials. I find that interpretation to be at odds with the clear text of the statute, but courts have been remarkably loose in allowing such broader interpretations.
14 thoughts on “Take One and Don’t Call Us In The Morning: Drug Company Lawyer Accused Of Offering Bribe To Expert”
Mexican Law states that if the expert of one of the parties does not accept to act as such within 3 days of being appointed, then the party who appointed him is declared do agree with his counterpart’s expert testimony. In this case, Baxter’s expert lied severely. If Translog’s expert had accepted the bribe and flee the country he would have not accepted in time and Translog would have been declared do have agreed to the conclusions of Baxter’s expert.
“and was never acted upon.”
My former Governor, el Blago, found out that such a defense doesn’t actually work in court….
“does not constitute bribery under Mexican law and was never acted upon.” … So what does constitute bribery under Mexican law?
The first issue is whether this should fall within the ambit of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. My view is that it should not. That being said, the lawyer should be disbarred. There is nothing more damaging to the administration of justice than witness tampering, whether it takes the form of bribery, threats or subornation of perjury.
‘The invisible hand’ always comes full of cash; it’s part of the self regulating nature of the free market.
Orange juice….burns nose. I just re-enacted your comment but with the highly volatile Dr Pepper.
I love the people on this blog.
Yep, sounds about right. The culture of pharma marketing/sales is extraordinary. Sounds like this lawyer has spent too much time “in the trenches” with the reps and their managers. I’m just surprised that the cash/ticket wasn’t being handed to the expert by a pre-paid prostitute.
Speaking of prostitutes, what, exactly, is the difference between an expert witness fee versus a bribe? A rose by any other name…
Baxter is not really a drug company in the usual sense. It was originally a hospital supply company which provided lab supplies, and intravenous patient fluid delivery supplies, like saline, etc. They now also are involved with dialysis supplies and vaccines, areas I’m guessing may what the suit is about. Think injectables, not pills.
raff, do you have any idea how much orange juice burns when snorted out the nose?
I just can’t imagine that a drug company lawyer would do anything underhanded!
And if he is licensed in the US…
Looking at the fees that experts charge to testify I would venture that nearly all of them are taking bribes. How often do you see each side with very very very very well paid experts offering exact opposite opinions
One more step towards the goal of sovereign corporate autonomy. aka “it’s legal if a multinational corporation does it”.
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