Briton arrested in China amid bribery probe

Julian Harris
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CHINA’S investigation into corruption in the pharmaceuticals sector has heated up, with the arrest of a British consultant with links to the industry.

Peter Humphrey and his wife Yu Yingzeng, who co-founded their ChinaWhys company in 2003, were detained in Shanghai on 10 July as authorities probed bribery allegations against GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).

The British Embassy in Beijing yesterday confirmed that Humphrey was arrested on 19 August. “We are providing consular assistance to the family,” the Foreign Office said yesterday. In China an arrest is typically made once the police believe they can bring a case to trial.

ChinaWhys, a risk management consultancy, has worked with drugs firms including GSK, according to Reuters sources. Its website lists a seminar from 2004 run in conjunction with GSK, which took place in Shanghai and was aimed at “identifying and managing fraud, corruption, and intellectual property risks in China.”

Yesterday GSK would not comment on whether it has worked with ChinaWhys. “He is not an employee of GSK and never has been,” a spokesperson told City A.M.

The UK-based pharma giant has been rocked by the scandal in China, with several senior executives arrested on allegations of bribes given to doctors.

Authorities have yet to confirm whether Yingzeng has also been arrested. A US national, she studied at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and is a certified fraud examiner. Family members of the couple provided a statement to the Wall Street Journal yesterday.