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UK-US risk investigator team arrested in China

Corporate investigators with possible links to GSK detained

ChinaTwo corporate risk investigators with possible links to GlaxoSmithKline have been arrested in China on suspicion of breaking laws on the purchase of personal information.

Briton Peter Humphrey and his American wife Yu Yingzeng (Ying) have both been detained by police, according to the British Embassy in Beijing. The duo jointly founded a risk consultancy business called ChinaWhys that has reportedly provided services to GSK and other pharmaceutical clients.

At the moment it is unclear whether the arrests are linked to the ongoing investigation into bribery and corruption in pharmaceutical industry.

GSK has been hardest hit so far, with accusations the firm channelled almost $490m in kickbacks to doctors and health officials using hundreds of middlemen, including travel agencies and consultancy firms.

Chinawhys' website says the firm provides business advice "walking multinationals through the labyrinth of opportunity, risk and unfamiliar cultural environment", and specified services such as investigation employee or distributor fraud and gathering evidence of wrongdoing.

It says Humphrey spent two decades as a Reuters correspondent and the past 14 years as a "risk management specialist and corporate detective", says the site. US-educated Yu has served as a financial controller in the US and Hong Kong, and as a high-level advisory consultant in China, it adds.

Humphrey and Yu were detained in Shanghai on July 10 and formally arrested on August 19, according to a statement issued by family members and reported in the Wall Street Journal

"We only know that Ying and Peter did investigative work on corruption within foreign companies," says the statement.

Since the arrest of four GSK executives in connection with the bribery allegations last month Novartis and Sanofi have been accused in the media of similar activities, while there have been visits by Chinese officials to several other overseas drugmakers, including, Novo Nordisk, Lundbeck, Lilly, AstraZeneca, and UCB.

22nd August 2013

From: Regulatory

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