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GlaxoSmithKline’s law firm in Hong Kong just poached a US prosecutor to deal with corruption cases

Reuters/Aly Song
Police patrol outside the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People’s Court, where two GSK contractors faced charges of illegally obtaining private information on Chinese citizens.
By Lily Kuo
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

For lawyers representing foreign companies under increased scrutiny in China, business is good. To help deal with a glut of recent cases, Ropes & Gray has hired assistant US attorney Patrick Sinclair to join the international law firm’s government enforcement practice in Hong Kong. The firm says it has dealt with some 320 corruption cases in Asia over the past five years.

Sinclair’s hiring reflects the fact that many corruption cases in China often bring scrutiny from US authorities as well. Ropes & Gray client GlaxoSmithKline is facing a wide-ranging corruption probe from Beijing, but has also faced a probe from Washington under a US law against corruption in other countries. Similarly, the US is investigating whether JP Morgan Chase illegally hired the “princeling” offspring of Chinese political and corporate leaders in an attempt to win new business.

A Ropes & Gray spokeswoman told Bloomberg that hiring Sinclair will “allow us to help clients understand how US prosecutors and regulators are thinking.”

Foreign companies in China are facing mounting legal troubles, including anti-trust charges and investigations that have drawn complaints from business groups and US treasury secretary Jack Lew that Beijing is unfairly targeting foreign companies.

Sinclair’s resume includes the prosecution of FalconStor Software, where managers were accused of bribing executives at JP Morgan Chase to win contracts; the company paid $5.8 million to settle the claims. Sinclair is also known for losing the US’s 2009 case against Bear Stearn managers Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin on charges of misleading investors in the run-up to the financial crisis.

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