Dr David Healy Cleared To Testify In Paxil Suicide Case…


Where does the buck stop?

http://www.law360.com/productliability/articles/865174/expert-ok-to-testify-in-gsk-suit-by-reed-smith-atty-s-widow?nl_pk=e32b9586-8e50-4282-bd7d-fc0e212e42e7&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=productliability

Expert OK To Testify In GSK Suit By Reed Smith Atty’s Widow

Law360, New York (November 22, 2016, 3:11 PM EST) — An Illinois federal judge on Monday canceled a pretrial hearing scheduled to vet an expert witness for the widow of a former Reed Smith LLP partner who killed himself allegedly as a result of taking GlaxoSmithKline PLC’s antidepressant drug, finding that the expert’s past issues had already been settled.
Dr. David Healy, who’s set to testify on behalf of widow Wendy Dolin when her trial against GSK begins in January, was scheduled first to take part in a pretrial hearing regarding an investigation into a past patient incident by the General Medical Council, the governing board of medicine in the United Kingdom where his practice is located.

However, that investigation has since closed with no finding of wrongdoing, and the Illinois federal court’s in camera review of documents related to the council’s inquiry have turned up nothing either, therefore a hearing to vet Dr. Healy is no longer warranted, U.S. District Judge William T. Hart decided.

“As stated by this court before the GMC investigation was closed ‘investigations, without finding of culpability, are typically not relevant.’ Moreover, there is nothing in the in camera documents to warrant a hearing or disclosure of the documents. Accordingly, no pretrial hearing of Dr. Healy’s testimony will be held,” Judge Hart wrote.

The judge indicated that the court would hang onto the in camera documents until the conclusion of the trial, which is set to begin Jan. 17.

“This case is about Paxil-induced self-harm, not a medical board investigation where Dr. Healy was cleared of any wrongdoing and had nothing to do with Paxil,” Robert Wisner of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman PC, an attorney for Dolin, told Law360. “GSK wants to distract the jury with any and everything that does not center on GSK’s conduct. The court, thankfully, saw through it.”

A representative for GSK declined to comment.

Dolin had asked Senior U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel in August to cancel the December hearing over Healy after the General Medical Council cleared him in an investigation following the suicide of one of his patients.

Judge Zagel had requested the hearing to determine whether GSK could ask Healy about the council’s investigation in front of the jury during the upcoming trial. But Dolin had argued that GSK’s investigation-based attacks on Healy were no longer relevant to the case.

Dolin sued GSK and Mylan Inc. in 2012, two years after her husband, Stewart, threw himself in front of a train. He began taking Mylan’s generic form of GSK’s antidepressant Paxil just a few days before his death.

Wendy Dolin claims GSK covered up an increased risk of suicide associated with Paxil by manipulating data used in a study that was submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. She also wants GSK held liable for failing to include a warning on its packaging about the risk.

For more than a year now, the parties have battled over Healy, a British psychiatrist who will testify for the widow about his research into the causal relationship between Paxil and adult suicide. While under investigation by the council, Healy wrote on his blog that he was likely being targeted by major drug manufacturers like GSK because of his testimony in various cases against the companies.

After Judge Zagel ensured the case would go to trial by declining to rule on GSK’s summary judgment bids earlier this year, GSK pressed him to force Healy to reveal documents related to the council’s investigation, arguing they were relevant to Healy’s credibility and potential bias against the drugmaker. Dolin countered, saying the public filing of the documents could cost Healy his job.

Judge Zagel denied GSK’s efforts to get the documents, which were submitted to the court for in camera review, but said he wanted to hold a special hearing to determine whether the U.K. investigation is relevant to the Dolin case.

Dolin is represented by R. Brent Wisner, Michael L. Baum, Bijan Esfandiari and Frances M. Phares of Baum Hedlund Aristei & Goldman PC, and David Rapoport, Joshua L. Weisberg and Melanie VanOverloop of Rapoport Law Offices PC.

GSK is represented by Alan S. Gilbert and Anders Wick of Dentons LLP, Chilton D. Varner, Andrew Bayman, Todd Davis and Heather Howard of King & Spalding LLP, and Robert Glanville, Thomas Wiswall, Tamar Halpern and Eva Canaan of Phillips Lytle LLP.

The case is Dolin v. Smithkline Beecham Corp. et al., case number 1:12-cv-06403, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

— Additional reporting by Emily Field, Kat Greene and Diana Novak Jones. Editing by Ben Guilfoy.

Part 2 Of Bob Fiddaman’s Posts On Peter Humphrey’s Recently Filed Lawsuit Against GlaxoSmithKline…


http://fiddaman.blogspot.ie/2016/11/chinawhys-vs-gsk-claims-part-2.html

Sunday, November 20, 2016

ChinaWhys Vs GSK – The Claims – Part 2

Following on from the first parter, Lawsuit Alleges GSK’s Witty Lied to the Media – Part I, today sees part 2 (The claims of ChinaWhys against GSK) – Part 3 (Coming later this week) will focus on the incarceration of Peter Humphrey and his wife, Yu Yinzeng and also the rehiring of accused whistleblower, Vivian Shi)

Here is what Peter Humphrey and his wife, Yu Yinzeng, of ChinaWhys, are alleging…

 – Between 2010-2013 GSK spent nearly $225 million on planning and travel services. Approx 44% of the sampled invoices were inflated and approximately 12% were for events that did not occur.

 – GSK set up a special “crisis management” team in order to bribe a Chinese regulators with money and gifts. A GSK executive attempted to bribe a Chinese investigator with an IPad and a lavish dinner. All bribes were approved by the head of Chinese operations, Mark Reilly.

 – GSK planned to suppress evidence of its illegal bribery activities.

 – As far back as 2008, GSK China deliberately falsified its books and records in order to conceal its illegal practices in China. These included, bribery and promotion of drugs for purposes that have not been approved by the Chinese authorities.

 – GSK paid a patient RMB 50,000, who nearly died after being given Lamictal off-label. Despite having knowledge of Lamictal caussing near death in this patient, GSK still told its reps to promote the use of Lamictal for off-label purposes.

 – GSK targeted ‘persuasive doctors’ in attempts to influence purchasing descions at their hospitals. GSK are to said to have forged a connection with these doctors by taking them to expensive lunches and dinners and also giving them gifts and cash.

 – GSK paid between 500 and 1,000 doctors to go on an all-expenses paid holiday to locations such as Brazil, India, Israel, Greece, Japan and Hungary. GSK covered all costs, including cash to cover meals and sight-seeing excursions. These were disgusied by GSK as “Conference trips.”

 – Head of Chinese operations, Mark Reilly, reeived a bribe in the form of ‘sexual relations’ in return for passing business on to China Comfort Travel, a travel agency who organised ‘conference sevices’ for GSK.

 – GSK paid doctors based on their prescription numbers.

 – GSK’s senior legal counsel, Jennifer Huang, asked private investigator, Peter Humphrey, to investigate the Public Security Bureau and to prepare an analysis of the Chinese political regime. Huang told Humphrey that she wanted to find out who’s who regarding the team who were investigating GSK.

 – Humphrey became concerned that GSK were trying to obstruct the investigation and declined to investigate state secrets.

 – Humphrey was also asked, by GSK, to look into the Ministry of Public Security, the Economic Crimes Investigation Department regarding the relationship between them and  the Public Security Bureau. Humphrey, once again, declined.

 – Head of Chinese operations, Mark Reilly, told Humphrey that the alleged whistleblower, Vivian Shi was “coming after him.” (Humphrey).  Reilly then fled China the following day.

 – GSK China told its employees to “destroy all non-compliant promtional maeterials and gifts.” They also implemented a new email system and deleted emails that were more than a year old. They claimed this was to “reduce unnecessarily legal costs.”



Bob Fiddaman.

Back Stories from the Fiddaman Blog

Glaxo – The Sex Tape Scandal

GSK’s Mark Reilly Accused of Running a “massive bribery network”

I’m Just a Blogger – Here’s GSK Served on Prawn Crackers

GSK Hiked Product Prices to Fund Bribery Scam

GSK’s Sales Reps Want Their Money Back

GSK’s Private Investigator [The Video]

Peter Humphrey’s 2012 Presentation – Pharma Bribery

GSK’s Chinese Whispers and David Cameron

“GSK were really cagey”, Claims Whitehall Official.

Glaxo Hire Ropes & Gray to Delve Into its Chinese Operations.

GSK CHINA – Bribery was Rife 13 Years Ago

Witty Plays Down China Scandal

Witty Witty Bang Wang. The Glaxo Gangbang…Allegedly

Book Your Holidays With GSK Travel

Andrew Witty… I know narrrrrrrrthing

The Penny Drops for GSK’s Private Investigator.

GSK China Bought Patient’s Silence for $9,000

Lawsuit Alleges GSK’s Witty Lied to the Media – Part I

Bob Fiddaman’s New Post : ” Lawsuit Alleges GSK’s Witty Lied to the Media – Part I “…


http://fiddaman.blogspot.ie/2016/11/lawsuit-alleges-gsks-witty-lied-to.html

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Lawsuit Alleges GSK’s Witty Lied to the Media – Part I

Lawsuit Alleges GSK’s Witty Lied to the Media – Part I  
~ Bob Fiddaman
 

A 42 page complaint was filed on November 15, 2016, by Peter Humphrey and his wife, Yu Yingzeng, in relation to GSK’s nefarious activities in China which saw the pair incarcerated for around 2 years in Chinese slum-like conditions prison cells.

The complaint delves deep into the whole sordid affair and alleges bribery on a huge scale, more importantly, the complaint alleges that GSK hired the services of Humphrey and Yu in efforts to smokescreen the corruption in China, corruption, according to the complaint, that they had known about for many years. Furthermore, the 42 page document alleges that GSK’s CEO, Andrew Witty, lied to the media when he was asked about the corruption in China.

Humphrey and Yingzeng were the founders of ChinaWhys, a professional-services consultancy that specializes in discreet risk mitigation solutions, consulting and investigation services to corporate clients in matters of high sensitivity across Greater China and the Asia Pacific.

On April 15, 2013, Humphrey met with GSK’s Head of Chinese operations, Mark Reilly, April Zhao, GSK China legal counsel and Brian Cahill, also GSK legal counsel. It was at this meeting that Humphrey was told that GSK had been sent a series of emails from a whistleblower alleging widespread corruption – GSK told Humphrey that they believed they knew who the whistleblower was.

Vivian Shi had previously worked for GSK as a government affairs director, GSK had terminated her services with them in December 2012. According to the complaint GSK claimed that Shi had orchestrated a “smear campaign” against GSK involving a total of 23 emails that had been sent to Chinese officials throughout the country, a letter had also been sent to GSK’s ‘top management’ alleging widespread corruption in GSK’s pharmaceutical and vaccine business that had been approved by GSK China’s senior management.

These were allegations brought to Humphreys attention just months after GSK had been fined a record breaking $3 billion by the Department of Justice in America – the fine was handed down after a guilty plea by GSK who, after the settlement, entered into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. The agreement requires enhanced accountability, increased transparency and wide- ranging monitoring activities conducted by both internal and independent external reviewers.

One month after meeting with GSK officials Humphrey was told that GSK’s global CEO, Andrew Witty, had been made aware that GSK had been using a travel agent to channel kickback to customers and doctors throughout China. Days after Witty had been made aware, the whistleblower also sent a video to him and other senior management that showed GSK China’s Mark Reilly engaged in sexual activity – Reilly later claimed that the woman in the video was his “regular girlfriend”.

GSK officials told Humphrey that they had launched their own internal inquiry regarding the whistleblower allegation and that they were false. They told Humphrey, “There is nothing there”. This, according to the complaint, was a lie.

Humphrey and his wife offered to investigate the whistleblower allegations but GSK declined the offer, opting instead for Humphrey to investigate Vivian Shi, the woman they believed was the whistleblower.

Two months after Humphrey and Yu started their background search of Vivian Shi, GSK received another letter from the whistleblower alleging that GSK China continues to engage in systematic bribery of doctors, this email focused on GSK China’s botox business whereby the whistleblower claimed that…

GSK had a ‘pay to prescribe’ scheme that funneled money through a central source at Beijing Medical College whereby ‘lecture fee payments’ were made to doctors who could “…incentivize and reward doctors for prescribing Botox.”

At no point did GSK show either Humphrey or Yu this letter.

On June 12, 2013, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ran an article highlighting GSK China’s massive bribery network. In July of that year 4 senior GSK China executives were arrested and, according to Humphrey’s filed complaint, GSK CEO, Andrew Witty told the worlds media that “…it appears that certain senior executives in the Chinese business have acted outside of our processes and our controls to both defraud the company and Chinese healthcare system.” Witty also claimed that GSK’s Head office in London lacked knowledge of the whistleblower allegations and “had no sense of this issue.”

According to the complaint, this made no sense as since the previous month GSK did, indeed, “have a sense” of the issue since it announced its 4 month internal investigation into allegations of bribery and corruption in China and found “No evidence of corruption or bribery.”

The complaint states…

Witty argued, nonsensically, that the previous whistleblower allegations were “quite different” from the more recent charges, saying, “they are two completely different sets of issues, we fully investigated the first and, of course, this has now surfaced in the last couple of weeks.”

This was a lie, since “what surfaced” in the PSB investigation and raids of GSK offices in July was precisely the illegal activity that the whistleblower had documented and threatened to reveal in January.

The complaint was filed in The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Humphrey and Yu are represented by Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP

**Coming in Part 2**
– A full and comprehensive list of the allegations made by Peter Humphrey and Yu.
– GSK ask Humphrey to ‘overtly’ obstruct the Chinese government investigation.
– Evidence, including emails, to be destroyed as not to implicate any wrong-doing by the company.



Bob Fiddaman


Back stories.

Glaxo – The Sex Tape Scandal

GSK’s Mark Reilly Accused of Running a “massive bribery network”

I’m Just a Blogger – Here’s GSK Served on Prawn Crackers

GSK Hiked Product Prices to Fund Bribery Scam

GSK’s Sales Reps Want Their Money Back

GSK’s Private Investigator [The Video]

Peter Humphrey’s 2012 Presentation – Pharma Bribery

GSK’s Chinese Whispers and David Cameron

“GSK were really cagey”, Claims Whitehall Official.

Glaxo Hire Ropes & Gray to Delve Into its Chinese Operations.

GSK CHINA – Bribery was Rife 13 Years Ago

Witty Plays Down China Scandal

Witty Witty Bang Wang. The Glaxo Gangbang…Allegedly

Book Your Holidays With GSK Travel

Andrew Witty… I know narrrrrrrrthing

The Penny Drops for GSK’s Private Investigator.

GSK China Bought Patient’s Silence for $9,000

Ex-Sleuths Sue GSK Over Imprisonment In China…


Interesting story from Reuters-

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-gsk-china-lawsuit-idUSKBN13B268

 

Ex-sleuths sue GlaxoSmithKline over imprisonment in China

Two former corporate investigators have sued GlaxoSmithKline, alleging the drugmaker misled them and induced them to investigate an innocent person, resulting in their imprisonment.

The complaint, filed with the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia and made public on Wednesday, was brought by Peter Humphrey, who is British, and his American wife, Yu Yingzeng.

The couple were detained in 2013 and found guilty by a Chinese court in 2014 after being asked by GSK to investigate a whistleblower within the pharmaceuticals group.

They were convicted of illegally obtaining private records of Chinese citizens.

The couple allege GSK misled them by stating that the whistleblower’s allegations of widespread corruption within the company were false. GSK was fined a record 3 billion yuan ($436 million) in 2014 for paying bribes to doctors to use its drugs.

A GSK spokesman said: “We do not believe this case has any merit and will vigorously defend against the allegations.”

What clinical trial results? Now you can see who isn’t sharing their findings


Not a big fan of Alltrials, however good to see that Paxil induced suicide in teens, and the controversy of Seroxat study 329 is still being referenced…

For Full article see link-

https://www.statnews.com/pharmalot/2016/11/03/clinical-trials-sanofi-shire-glaxo/


 

“…The effort prompted some drug makers to comply, although there is no uniform approach to disclosure.

Last year, however, researchers sifted through newly released GlaxoSmithKline data for its Paxil antidepressant and found evidence contradicting the company’s published findings that the pill was safe and effective for youngsters….”


“…Who else is a transgressor? Novartis did not disclose results for 201 studies, or nearly 38 percent of 534 eligible trials. And GlaxoSmithKline failed to release findings for 183 trials, or almost 23 percent of 809 eligible studies. We should note that the tracker, which includes trials completed between January 2006 and two years ago, only includes sponsors with more than 30 trials and excludes Phase 1 trials….”

Brilliant New Post From Bob Fiddaman: “GSK China Bought Patient’s Silence for $9,000″…


As usual, Mr. Fiddaman hits the nail on the head…


 

http://fiddaman.blogspot.ie/2016/11/gsk-china-bought-patients-silence-for.html

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

GSK China Bought Patient’s Silence for $9,000

A truly fascinating read regarding the corruption in China, all committed by the hand of British based pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline.

The New York Times (NYT) recently ran a superb article regarding GSK’s nefarious activities in China, activities that saw them plead guilty, a result of which saw them being handed down a $500 million dollar fine.

The article by David Barboza, although brilliant, is tantalizing, in as much that The Times claims to have in its possession emails and documents, none of which they have provided, at least in their entirety.

The China scandal is a story of greed, corruption, cover-ups, bribery and pay-offs, all combined with a sex scandal video and a company burying it’s head in the sand over its China practices – preferring instead to go after the person who blew the whistle on the whole sordid affair.

It’s a subject I covered many times on this blog (Links at the foot of this post) and one that seems to be rehashed with additions on a regular basis.

The Times article throws out some very interesting facts about the case that were previously kept under wraps – one such fact being that they (The Times) have evidence that “Glaxo “almost killed one patient by illegally marketing its drug Lamictal,” said the email, which was obtained by The Times. “GSK China bought the patient’s silence for $9,000.””

Glaxo buying a patient’s silence? Surely not?

There was me thinking they only did that in litigation, Paxil withdrawal (Over 3,000 patients ‘paid off’) – Paxil Birth defects (Over 800 patients ‘paid off’)

So, who was the patient in receipt of Glaxo’s $9,000, moreover, what did this patient have that GSK didn’t want others to see?

According to the NYT…

The email was one of nearly two dozen that the whistle-blower sent over the course of 17 months to Chinese regulators, Glaxo executives and the company’s auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In 2012 Glaxo plead guilty to a whole host of violations throughout America, the guilty plea resulted in a record breaking fine of $3 billion. At the time, Glaxo Chief, Andrew Witty, pledged, “We’re determined this is never going to happen again.”

Witty, who had been made aware of the unfolding stench in China shortly after the 2012 guilty plea in the US, is stepping down from his CEO position in April next year – It’s quite a legacy he has left behind, one which he took over from former Chief, JP Garnier who, in essence, oversaw the corruption in America and left Witty to suck up the fallout.

What an abhorrent company this is. Corruption, bribery (of officials and patients) and the manufacturer of prescription meds that have either killed people or disfigured them in such a way that they need to continue having surgery for the rest of their lives. Let’s not forget those that have suffered as a result of becoming addicted to GSK’s medications either.

The Times article also digs deeper into the involvement of Mark Reilly, who, at the time, was Head of GSK’s China operations. They claim…

An email alleged that Mr. Reilly, a British national who had helped manage the company’s China operation for four years, was complicit in a bribery scheme tied to a travel agency called China Comfort Travel, or C.C.T. According to the email, Glaxo funneled money through the travel agency to pay off doctors. The travel agency also supplied Mr. Reilly with women, as a way to secure that business.

“In order to acquire more business, C.C.T. bribed Mark Reilly, the general manager of GSK (China) with sex,” the email said. “Mark Reilly accepted this bribery and made C.C.T. get the maximized benefits in return.”

That’s some perk to have!  China Comfort Travel bring a whole new meaning to the word ‘comfort’.

Any jobs going whereby the employer offers a bonus of playing hide the salami?

I’m sure red-blooded males would have been first in-line for such a job working for a company complicit in fraudulent activities. Sadly, for those red-blooded males at least, Reilly was offered (and took) the perk – I wonder if he claimed for the 15 minutes of overtime too? (Assuming that Reilly could last that long in the sack)

When faced with over 17 months of emails from the whistleblower Glaxo decided to seek help, they did so by hiring a private investigator, Peter Humphrey and his wife, Yu Yingzeng.

Humphrey did some digging and, at the time, provided information to Glaxo that pointed to the possible whistleblower. Vivian Shi, was a 47-year-old executive handling government affairs in Glaxo’s Shanghai office, I say former because she was previously fired by GSK for their belief (Before Humphrey was hired) that she was behind the whistleblowing allegations. The ‘official’ line of her dismissal was that she had been falsifying travel expenses.

Humphrey, it appears, was merely suggesting that Shi may have been involved – he, at no time, ever provided GSK with any evidence that their former executive was the one who was whistleblowing. Shi, who remember had already left GSK, denied any part in the whole Chinagate scandal.

During his investigations Humphrey obtained information that was deemed to be by false means according to Chinese officials. Both he and his wife were later arrested, charged then sent to prison. Meantime, Reilly, who was the mastermind of the whole scam, was sent back home to the UK – No jail time. It’s unknown what Reilly is doing today, presumably he doesn’t work for GSK in any capacity, although I wouldn’t put it past them to re-hire him, just as they did with Vivian Shi, the very person they had fired because they thought she was the one blowing the whistle on its Chinese operations.

Remarkably, GSK re-hired Shi last year, although it is unclear in what capacity. (See Glaxo and Former Whistleblower Suspect Reunite)

GSK must be a truly great company to work for, not only do they offer, by proxy, free blowjobs to heads of operations but they re-hire you after previously sacking you for, ahem, “falsifying travel expenses.”

The Times article is a must read and once again highlights how GSK prefer to target people who bring the company’s misdemeanors to their attention rather than target the person carrying out the misdemeanors.

GSK Corporate motto claims, “We are dedicated to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better, live longer.” – I just never knew this included blowjobs via complicit bribery deals – the re-hiring after breaking rules – and buying patients silence.

Nice job (blow) Glaxo!

Bob Fiddaman

Back Stories

Glaxo – The Sex Tape Scandal

GSK’s Mark Reilly Accused of Running a “massive bribery network”

I’m Just a Blogger – Here’s GSK Served on Prawn Crackers

GSK Hiked Product Prices to Fund Bribery Scam

GSK’s Sales Reps Want Their Money Back

GSK’s Private Investigator [The Video]

Peter Humphrey’s 2012 Presentation – Pharma Bribery

GSK’s Chinese Whispers and David Cameron

“GSK were really cagey”, Claims Whitehall Official.

Glaxo Hire Ropes & Gray to Delve Into its Chinese Operations.

GSK CHINA – Bribery was Rife 13 Years Ago

Witty Plays Down China Scandal

Witty Witty Bang Wang. The Glaxo Gangbang…Allegedly

Book Your Holidays With GSK Travel

Andrew Witty… I know narrrrrrrrthing

The Penny Drops for GSK’s Private Investigator.

RICO lawsuit over drugs from shuttered GSK facility gets green light


RICO lawsuit over drugs from shuttered GSK facility gets green light

By Brendan Pierson

A lawsuit by 41 health insurance companies accusing pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline LLC of defrauding them by selling drugs that were not made according to federal safety standards can go forward, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge Juan Sanchez in Philadelphia ruled Wednesday that the insurers, which include Aetna Inc, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and various affiliates, had made a case under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act by claiming they would not have paid for the drugs if they knew about the safety problems.

To read the full story on Westlaw Practitioner Insights, click here: bit.ly/2eVLPID

Peter Humphrey : UK banks blacklist Briton jailed by China..


https://www.ft.com/content/89208d9a-979a-11e6-a80e-bcd69f323a8b

UK banks blacklist Briton jailed by China

HSBC and RBS pull services from private investigator Peter Humphrey

Peter Humphrey © CCTV News

 

A British private investigator jailed in China after GlaxoSmithKline’s bribery scandal has been blacklisted by banks, including HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland, after authorities helped bring him back to the UK.

Peter Humphrey, who was convicted after a closed-door trial in 2014 of illegally obtaining information on Chinese citizens, told the Financial Times that HSBC had withdrawn his personal and business accounts without explanation on his repatriation last year after a decades-long relationship. RBS’s offshore arm, with whom he had banked since 2012, also pulled services.

While the banks declined to comment to the FT on specific cases, Mr Humphrey believes that the reason they closed his accounts was because of a confidential database used by 49 of the world’s 50 biggest banks, including HSBC and RBS.

World-Check, owned by Thomson Reuters, is used by banks, law firms and government agencies to research individuals and go through sanctions lists. Banks use it as part of their “know your client” checks, or KYC for short, that they must carry out as part of anti-money-laundering rules.

But detractors allege that the database serves as an unaccountable blacklist, aggregating unverified blogs and newspaper articles, including some from state-sponsored sources, as well as court judgments from around the world.

The database’s own fine print states that it provides merely a snapshot that “should be read by users in the context of the fuller details available in the external sources provided” and cautions their customers to verify the information. Individuals can request changes to inaccurate information.

World-Check said in a statement that it aggregated information from government watch lists and sanctions databases, as well as “publicly available information from reputable sources in order to help clients comply with anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulations. Customers can then use this data to follow their own regulatory compliance policies and procedures.”

HSBC said in a statement: “HSBC has a moral and regulatory obligation to have systems and controls in place to manage financial crime risk. As part of managing this risk, we periodically review our customer relationships and in doing so we gather information from a wide range of sources and take a number of factors into consideration.”

RBS declined to comment.

An insider at one high-street bank said that while cross-checking might occur for potentially lucrative new customers, a red flag for anyone else would be enough to terminate any relationship.

World-Check’s results for Mr Humphrey, seen by the FT, group him with GSK and its former employees charged with bribery, even though he was not part of that investigation. The records go on to state that he was arrested then subsequently jailed “for alleged illegal trafficking of personal information”.

“That is erroneous and injurious; there was no ‘trafficking’ or buying and selling of information. We produced in-depth reports,” said Mr Humphrey. “The database also equates the validity of convictions in a country like China with those of countries with a long rule of law.”

Mr Humphrey and his wife were detained by Chinese authorities in 2013 after helping GSK, which was not mentioned during their trial, identify the source of a secretly filmed sex tape of its then top executive in China in bed with his girlfriend.

GSK was fined £300m in 2014 by a Chinese court for funnelling billions of renminbi to hospitals, doctors and officials in an attempt to boost sales in one of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing drug markets. The company remains under investigation by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office.

Mr Humphrey is not the only person to take issue with the database. Maajid Nawaz, a former Liberal Democrat candidate and co-founder of an anti-extremist think-tank, was incorrectly labelled by World-Check as having terrorist links. He has now instructed Mark Lewis at Seddons, the solicitor used by celebrities and other victims of the phone-hacking scandal, to pursue a claim against the company.

Iqbal Asaria, an academic and former Bank of England adviser on Islamic finance who was made a CBE in 2005, was also erroneously labelled as having links to terrorism on the database after it picked up unsubstantiated allegations on a blog.

Thomson Reuters declined to comment on any specific case, citing data privacy laws. The FT competes with the company in providing news.

Banks have taken a conservative approach to KYC since US authorities in particular started cracking down on money-laundering. HSBC is especially sensitive since it was landed with a $1.9bn fine in 2012 from the US Department of Justice. It has taken a cautious approach and has closed entire business lines if they are deemed too risky.

But regulators are concerned that banks have taken “de-risking” too far, shutting out charities, innocent individuals, or indeed whole countries, deemed by banks to be too dicey.

According to a report published this year for the Financial Conduct Authority, banks have severed ties with clients they deem risky at an accelerated rate over the past three years in response to stretched compliance teams and a reduced appetite for risk in the wake of fines.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don’t cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.
Infinite Coincidence

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Chaos Theory and Pharmacology

A blog dedicated to the study of complex relationships in pharmacology. “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations.” ― George Orwell | CC-0

In the Wake of Suicide....trying to understand

I trust in you, O' Lord, my Savior, the One who died and rose again…. the One who brought me in and will carry me out, the Almighty waters and tides that bring us life. I come to You when there is no where else to turn, I come to You when there is. I look to You as my guiding Light, my Savior…. the One who created all I see- created my life and dreams before I knew myself~ created my talents and style before I knew the value~ I praise You and adore Your mystery. I will be strong and conquer as You would want for me. I beg of your blessings and miracles even though I am unworthy of Your power…. Yet, I trust in You~ and know You have already begun Your work. I love You. I don't know if that is a good enough word, "love"~ But I know You on a level---beyond words. Save me Lord. I will not let go of You. Hear me O' Lord. In Christ's Powerful Name Amen ~ By Brandon Heath

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