Financial News

  • 15 July 2014, 12:08

GSK Bribery Probe: UK Investigator Charged

Authorities in China have issued formal charges against a British man and his Chinese-American wife who are linked to the GlaxoSmithKline bribery scandal.

Peter Humphrey and his wife Yu Yingzeng have been charged with illegally obtaining and selling private information according to China's state news agency, Xinhua.

Mr Humphrey, who is 58, and his wife Ms Yu, 61, were working as consultants for GSK when they were arrested in August last year.

"Prosecutors have found that the couple illegally trafficked a huge amount of personal information on Chinese citizens to seek profits," the Xinhua news agency said.

"The personal information traded by the couple included household registration details, background of family members, real estate, vehicles, call log and exit-entry records. The couple also obtained the information by means such as secret photography, infiltration or tailing after someone."

Mr Humphrey also appeared on CCTV, China's state TV channel, wearing an orange prison waistcoat.

Speaking in English, he said: "I deeply regret, having offended any Chinese law, it certainly was not my intention to violate Chinese law, or to cause any harm. If we have broken Chinese law, then I feel very ashamed about that, and I'm very regretful about that, and I apologise".

Mr Humphrey and his wife represent one element in an extraordinary case involving alleged bribery, blackmail, a sex tape and industrial espionage.

In March last year, the British-based CEO of GSK, Andrew Witty, and a number of the company's other top executives reportedly received an anonymous email with an attachment. The email contained allegations that GSK's China division had been bribing doctors and hospitals to buy GSK products.

The attachment was an intimate video-recording of the China boss of GSK, Mark Reilly, with his Chinese girlfriend.

Peter Humphrey and his wife, who run a well-established company called ChinaWhys, were reportedly employed by GSK to establish who had recorded and sent the tape.

ChinaWhys, which was established in 2004, describes itself as an "international business risk advisory firm with eyes in China".

According to its website, it "specialises in discreet risk mitigation solutions, consulting and investigation services to corporate clients in matters of high sensitivity".

Any investigation conducted by Mr Humphrey could have required him to access the private information of Chinese citizens, an act which is considered illegal in China.

According to Mr Humphrey's son, who is based in the UK, his father's health has deteriorated significantly since he was detained.

The trial of he and his wife is set for August 7 in Shanghai. It is expected to be closed with no access given to the media, diplomats or even the couple's family.

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