GSK Investigators (Scapegoats?) Peter Humphey and Yu Yingzeng- Released From Chinese Prisons this Week


A Glaxo spokesman acknowledged last summer that ChinaWhys had been hired to conduct due diligence.

Mr. Humphrey’s son, however, has said in interviews that when he spoke with his father in prison, Mr. Humphrey suggested Glaxo had allowed him to fall into a trap by focusing on the identity of the whistle-blower rather than the accusations the whistle-blower made against the company.

A Glaxo spokeswoman declined to comment on Tuesday. But in an article in The Daily Telegraph in August, Harvey Humphrey was quoted as saying: “I would not blame this on China. The cause is not the Chinese, it is G.S.K.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/10/business/international/british-investigator-peter-humphrey-is-released-from-chinese-prison.html?ref=business&gwh=E41AF9D61C33F5C501A1555C82450CC1&gwt=pay&_r=0

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Peter Humphrey was admitted to a hospital because of poor health, his family said.

SHANGHAI — Peter Humphrey, a British private investigator who was detained two years ago while working for the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, was released from prison on Tuesday with seven months to go in a two-and-a-half-year sentence, according to friends and family members.

The Shanghai authorities released Mr. Humphrey, 59, early Tuesday morning and admitted him to a hospital because of poor health, his family said. Once tests are conducted, close friends and relatives say, he is expected to be issued an emergency passport and deported to Britain by the Chinese authorities.

Mr. Humphrey’s arrest in the summer of 2013 coincided with a Chinese government investigation into accusations of fraud and corruption at the drug company. Although Mr. Humphrey was not charged in connection with that case, his friends and relatives believed he was detained because of work he had been conducting for Glaxo.

In a separate case, Glaxo was eventually fined nearly $500 million, one of the largest fines in corporate history in China, for engaging in fraud and bribery. One of the company’s top executives in China was also charged with wrongdoing in the case. The authorities then suspended the three-year prison sentence of the executive, Mark Reilly, and ordered him deported.

Mr. Humphrey and his wife and business partner, Yu Yingzeng, a Chinese-born American citizen, were charged with violating the rights of private citizens by obtaining private information about them while operating ChinaWhys. The company, an investigation firm, regularly performed due diligence for multinational corporations in China.

Ms. Yu, who is 61, was sentenced last year to two years in prison, and she is expected to be released within a month. There was no indication Tuesday that her sentence had been reduced. The sentences for her and her husband took into account time served since their arrests.

British officials issued a two-sentence statement, without naming Mr. Humphrey: “We have been notified by the Chinese authorities that a British national detained in China has been released. We are providing consular assistance to the family.”

In a statement released Tuesday by the Humphrey family, the couple’s son, Harvey, who is a university student in Britain, said: “I’m stunned and delighted. I hope to see both of my parents as soon as possible.”

The Humphrey case shocked the international community in China because ChinaWhys had worked for some of the world’s biggest companies and had typically been hired to help root out corruption. But the case highlighted the risks of doing such work in China, and it suggested that investigative firms were sometimes paying to obtain access to confidential government records.

At their one-day trial in August, Mr. Humphrey and Ms. Yu acknowledged that ChinaWhys had bought government-issued identity records, exit and entry travel documents, and mobile phone records, according to transcripts and video excerpts. The trial was closed to the news media, but the couple said they had believed that obtaining many of the records was legal.

Looming behind the trial, though, was the Glaxo case. The pharmaceutical company hired ChinaWhys to investigate a breach in privacy related to the company’s China general manager, Mr. Reilly, but also to look into the identity of a whistle-blower who had sent emails and documents to the authorities in China, according to people involved in the case.

The company suspected that the whistle-blower was a former Glaxo employee, according to people familiar with the case. The whistle-blower sent emails to Glaxo executives and board members, along with a videotape that appeared to show Mr. Reilly, the company’s top executive in China, having sex with his girlfriend in his Shanghai apartment.

A Glaxo spokesman acknowledged last summer that ChinaWhys had been hired to conduct due diligence.

Mr. Humphrey’s son, however, has said in interviews that when he spoke with his father in prison, Mr. Humphrey suggested Glaxo had allowed him to fall into a trap by focusing on the identity of the whistle-blower rather than the accusations the whistle-blower made against the company.

A Glaxo spokeswoman declined to comment on Tuesday. But in an article in The Daily Telegraph in August, Harvey Humphrey was quoted as saying: “I would not blame this on China. The cause is not the Chinese, it is G.S.K.”

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-33090372

China frees wife of UK GSK investigator Peter Humphrey

  • 11 June 2015
  • From the section China
Mr Humphrey and Yu Yingzeng were convicted in China last August

The wife and business partner of a British corporate investigator jailed in China for trafficking personal data has been freed early from prison, the BBC understands.

Yu Yingzeng, a Chinese-born US citizen, was jailed with her husband Peter Humphrey as part of the GlaxoSmithKline corruption scandal last August.

Mr Humphrey was released earlier this week.

They are expected to leave China in the coming days.

Yu Yingzeng was detained along with Mr Humphrey in 2013.

She was sentenced last year to two years in prison and had been due to be released on 11 July.

The couple said they did not realise their actions were illegal in China

The couple were detained after helping GSK investigate a secretly filmed sex tape of its then top manager in China.

GSK was fined £300m ($465m) by the Chinese authorities for bribes to hospitals and officials in an attempt to boost sales.

The couple were found guilty of illegally obtaining Chinese citizens’ data and selling it to firms including GSK China.

They both admitted buying background information, but said they did not realise this was illegal.

Mr Humphrey was released on health grounds and has been moved to a Shanghai hospital for tests relating to cancer.

He will be deported on release from hospital.

The couple’s family has been told their departure from China could take several days.

Their son, Harvey, a university student in the UK, has not had access to them.

How the case unfolded:

  • January 2013: Email alleging bribery sent to GSK boss, followed in March by sex tape featuring China chief Mark Reilly
  • April 2013: Peter Humphrey’s company ChinaWhys hired to investigate
  • June 2013: Mr Humphrey delivers his report to GSK
  • July 2013: China announces investigation into GSK China, police detain four Chinese GSK employees
  • August 2013: Mr Humphrey and his wife arrested for allegedly buying and selling personal information
  • May 2014: Chinese authorities accuse Mr Reilly of overseeing bribery network
  • August 2014: Mr Humphrey and his wife go on trial and are convicted
  • June 2015: Mr Humphrey is freed from prison
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