Financial News

  • 11 August 2014, 11:02

British GSK Investigator Gets Jail In China

A British man who had carried out a probe for drugs firm GlaxoSmithKline in China has been jailed for breaking privacy laws.

Peter Humphrey, 58, was on trial for breaches which involved illegally obtaining Chinese citizens' personal information and selling it to companies including London-based GSK.

Humphrey was jailed for two years and six months, while his naturalised American wife Yu Yingzeng, 60, received a two-year prison sentence.

According to a statement read out by a court official at a press conference, Humphrey will be deported, but it gave no further details on that aspect of the judgment, including on whether Yu would also be deported.

They are allowed to appeal against their sentences, the court said.

A message posted on a state social media account said Humphrey had accepted the charges against him on the first day of his hearing in Shanghai.

Speaking outside the court, the couple's son Harvey said: "My parents' trial lasted 12 hours - they were allowed to speak and to present a defence.

"I'm very sad about the court's verdict but I hope that the authorities will take into account their poor health conditions."

The pair ran risk consultancy ChinaWhys and were arrested shortly after completing an internal investigation for GSK - which is now the focus of a separate corruption investigation.

In January last year an email was sent to GSK's UK-based chief executive containing a sex tape of GSK China's general manager Mark Reilly and his Chinese girlfriend.

The email accused Mr Reilly of being behind corruption in the company's China operation.

ChinaWhys was tasked with finding out who had sent the email and how the video had been filmed.

GSK suspected a former senior staff member with political connections, but who has denied being the whistleblower.

The trial was closely watched for any comments on GSK, but there was no mention of the British drugmaker.

Earlier, Harvey Humphrey accused the multinational of "misleading" his parents and claimed the company had "gone into full survival mode", which he said included denying any connection with his parents.

He told Sky News: "This whole thing stems from GSK's misleading of my parents and I think in that process they trod on several powerful toes, if I may put it that way."

 

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We note the verdict in this case.

"We have continually called for a transparent process leading to a swift and fair conclusion to this case, in accordance with Chinese law.

"It would be wrong to comment further while the case remains open to appeal."

A spokesman for GSK said the pharmaceutical company would not comment on the case.

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