Watts Water sues Sidley Austin over FCPA error

Lawsuit alleges firm’s mistakes resulted in big bribery sanctions for the company

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) crackdown on foreign bribery has caught a lot of companies in its crossfires, most recently Wal-Mart. Many businesses have complained that the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) is confusingly worded, and have asked for more guidance on the law. In the meantime, they have to rely on lawyers to navigate the muddy waters. One recently sanctioned company, however, is not happy with its lawyers’ performance, and has decided to sue.

Watts Water Technologies got slammed with FCPA sanctions last year over a 2005 acquisition of Chinese company Changsha Valve Works that turned out to have a kickback policy. Changsa had a written policy of helping itself secure government contracts by paying kickbacks to Chinese officials.

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