British investigator Peter Humphrey ‘regrets’ illegal data scam on China TV

Couple make public confession over alleged £320m bribery scandal a drugs giant

Beijing

Chinese state television has broadcast a confession by British corporate investigator Peter Humphrey who, along with his American wife, has been held in connection with an alleged £320million bribery scandal at drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline.

“The way we acquired information was sometimes illegal. I feel very regretful about it and want to apologise to the Chinese government,” Mr Humphrey said in the CCTV report. 

Such public apologies are common by Chinese officials and celebrities accused of wrongdoing, but a confession by a foreigner rarely happens.

Mr Humphrey sat with his wife Yu Yingzeng – both in orange prison vests and handcuffs – during the report. 

The couple were arrested on 16 August in Shanghai and charged with operating illegal research companies and trafficking personal information about Chinese citizens, police said.

Mr Humphrey, 57, and Ms Yingzeng are founders of ChinaWhys, a Shanhai-based risk management firm, which provides investigation services to companies.  GlaxoSmithKline – the biggest UK-listed pharmaceutical firm – was one of their clients.

GSK is accused of working with Chinese travel agencies to host conferences for up to 2,000 people, with events costing about 10million yuan (about £1m).

Chinese authorities claim GSK executives inflated the cost of these events to use excess cash to pay bribes to doctors and middlemen.

The company has admitted some of its China executives may have violated both Chinese law and the company’s  policy. A GSK spokesman confirmed they were co-operating with the authorities.

CCTV’s television broadcast also showed Mr Humphrey’s and Ms Yingzeng’s offices being raided, as well as interviews with police officers.

“[The] Investigation found that the couple illegally trafficked a huge amount of personal information on Chinese citizens to seek profits via registering so-called research companies in Hong Kong and Shanghai since 2003,” the Xinhua news agency reported.

Mr Humphrey was formerly a Reuters correspondent in Hong Kong. After leaving the news agency 14 years ago he worked as an investigator in different parts of Asia, tracking white collar crime and corporate fraud.

Ms Yingzeng is a California-educated accountant who has served as a financial controller in the United States and Hong Kong, and as a high-level advisory consultant in China.

ChinaWhys’ website claims Ms Yingzeng: “Is experienced in operational/financial audit to identify management control weakness, bribery concerns and fraud risks.”

It says she has worked on “complex fraud investigations at multinational operations in China, [with] successes including solving a supply chain fraud by establishing activity links to capture criminal evidence for a US food manufacturer”.

The British Embassy in Beijing confirmed last week that Mr Humphrey had been arrested and they were providing consular assistance, but gave no details of charges.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (Genetic Algorithms, .NET 4.5, TDD, SQL, AI)

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Full Stack Developer (.NET 4.0, ASP.NET, MVC, Ajax, WCF,SQL)

£55000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Full Stack ...

AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - Investment Management

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...

Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pillar 1, 2 & 3) Insurance

£450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pilla...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn