GSK handed £297m fine in bribery scandal by Chinese authorities

British executive Mark Reilly handed three-year suspended sentence

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The Independent Online

China has found GlaxoSmithKline guilty of bribery in its investigation into corruption at the company and has reportedly sentenced executives including Briton Mark Reilly, famed for having been the victim of a sex tape smear, to prison.

Mr Reilly was GSK's former head in the country and has been handed a three-year suspended sentence, according to reports in Chinese news agency Xinhua. He will then be deported.

The drugs giant has also today been fined £297m over the scandal which has recently seen a British private investigator it hired and his wife jailed for their activities digging into the affair.

Mr Reilly, who returned voluntarily to China last year to help police with their inquiries, and other executives will be jailed for two to four years, according to the Xinhua state news agency.

The Changsha Intermediate People's Court in Hunan province ruled GSK's China Investment Co arm had "offered money or property to non-government personnel in order to obtain improper commercial gains". It also said it had been found guilty of "bribing non-government personel."

The verdict follows investigations prompted by the country's Ministry of Public Security last June.

 

GSK, which still has a large business in the country, accepted the decision and said: "The illegal activities of GSKCI are a clear breach of GSK's governance and compliance procedures."

It also issued a full and contrite statement of apology to the Chinese government "and its people."

Andrew Witty, the chief executive for whom the affair has been a huge embarrassment, said the bribery was "deeply disappointing."

Last month, a British private investigator, Peter Humphreys, was jailed along with his wife Yu Yingzeng over the way they carried out their investigation on behalf of GSK.

They were hired to look into the leaking of a sex video of Mr Reilly, and his Chinese girlfriend. Their investigations firm, ChinaWhys, was tasked with finding out who sent the tape and how it was filmed.

The couple's son Harvey accused GSK of "misleading" his parents about the goings on in China, suggesting they had unwittingly "trod on some powerful toes" as a result.

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