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.”