GSK Consultants Charged with Illegal Investigation

Prosecutors in China have filed charges against British investigator Peter Humphrey and his Chinese-American wife and partner for illegally obtaining private information on Chinese citizens, one year after they were detained in connection with a bribery case against the British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline. The couple will face a closed trial in August. Reuters’ Adam Jourdan reports:

ChinaWhys, the risk consultancy run by the couple, was employed by GSK in April 2013 to investigate an ex-employee suspected of sending anonymous emails, including the circulation of an intimate video of former GSK China head Mark Reilly with his girlfriend, as well as emails containing allegations of widespread bribery at the British drugmaker.

In an eight-minute news report aired on Monday by state run China Central Television (CCTV), Humphrey said he and his wife “deeply regret” breaking any Chinese law. He added ChinaWhys would not have worked with GSK if the drugmaker had informed him about the full details of the whistleblower emails.

[…] Xinhua said Humphrey and Yu had paid people in Beijing and Shanghai to purchase personal information. Citing the prosecutor on the case, the news agency added that the couple had been fully aware of the illegality of their actions.

Between 2009 and 2013, the couple illegally obtained private information during investigations into close to a thousand firms and a large number of private individuals, including household registration data, real estate and vehicle documents, as well as phone records, it added. [Source]

At The Telegraph, Malcolm Moore reported more details of allegations against Humphrey and Yu:

While the charges relate to their work for GSK, the state-run Legal Daily newspaper said the couple “made millions of yuan every year” and had conducted more than 700 investigations in the past decade.

“They investigated a huge number of people, illegally conducting their household registration information, their car licence plate numbers, looking into their families, the logs of when they entered and left China, their phone records and their corporate files,” reported the newspaper.

“They bought this information, paying 800 yuan (£80) to 1000 yuan (£100) each time. They took covert photographs, they sneaked into properties and they used false identities,” it added.

Clients of the couple’s firm, ChinaWhys, included “large multinationals, including financial companies, manufacturing firms and law firms”, according to the Chinese media. [Source]