Ex-Sleuths Sue GSK Over Imprisonment In China…

Interesting story from Reuters-



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.”


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


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trial in 2014 of illegally obtaining information on Chinese citizens, told the Financial Times that HSBC had withdrawn his personal and business accounts without explanation on his repatriation last year after a decades-long relationship.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.

Wall Street Journal: British Investigator Says Prison in China Worsened Health

6:00 pm HKT
Oct 23, 2015

Law & Politics

British Investigator Says Prison in China Worsened Health

Peter Humphrey relaxing with his son, Harvard, after his release from a Chinese prison.

Peter Humphrey, a former private investigator in China who recently won release from a Shanghai prison, this week disclosed he has prostate cancer, a condition he alleges was worsened by terms of a nearly two-year incarceration.

Mr. Humphrey said in a statement and telephone interview from his home in Surrey, England that a prostate problem he experienced while imprisoned — but which went untreated — was recently diagnosed as a malignant cancer. “It wasn’t caught early enough because I was denied the medical attention that I needed,” said Mr. Humphrey.

The 59-year-old Briton said he has begun treatment for his condition but that it could take up to two years for him to know its success.


Mr. Humphrey, a self-employed investigator and former journalist, worked in China for over two decades on behalf of multinational corporations. He spent almost two years in custody in Shanghai during an investigation and subsequent conviction before his early release and deportation in June. Prosecutors alleged that along with his wife and partner, U.S. citizen Yu Yingzeng, Mr. Humphrey violated various statutes related to Chinese personal privacy. The two were released around the same time.

Now Mr. Humphrey says he is making public his health condition as part of a formal complaint by his family in a 50-plus-page report addressed to China’s State Council, or Cabinet. He said the report, which documents his treatment and asks the central government to investigate, was recently delivered to Chinese authorities through diplomatic channels.

As summarized in the statement, the report alleges “abuse of power” by senior members of Shanghai’s Political and Legal Affairs Committee, a Communist Party organization that effectively controls the police, prosecutorial and judicial organs as well individual officials from those bodies.

Among Mr. Humphrey’s allegations is that prison officials as often as weekly requested his signature on a confession before they would permit him to get a full diagnosis and treatment of his prostate, which was giving him trouble behind bars. After pressure from the U.S. and U.K. consulates and despite his refusal to confess, the statement says, Mr. Humphrey was eventually permitted a diagnosis in April, and its dire findings became a basis for his early release.

Chinese officials in the past have defended their handling of Mr. Humphrey, who immediately after his release said his treatment had worsened his health. In June an official at Shanghai Qingpu Prison, where Mr. Humphrey was held, said “his disease was not caused by the detention.” The official added that the prison was able to provide relief but didn’t have the ability to cure Mr. Humphrey. “Every prisoner’s medical care is guaranteed in our prison,” the official said.

British corporate investigator Peter Humphrey leaves the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People’s Court inside a police vehicle on August 8, 2014.

Also in June, Lu Kang, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said that Mr. Humphrey’s claims of mistreatment are “not true” and that “relevant Chinese authorities provided [Mr. Humphrey and his wife] with the due rights and interests,” adding that the couple had satisfied court conditions for sentence reductions.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman declined additional comment on Friday, while the Shanghai municipal government didn’t immediately respond to questions.

Mr. Humphrey’s statement calls on China’s central government to punish those involved in decisions relating to the case, as well as an unnamed “individual who manipulated” the authorities. It calls for unspecified compensation to Mr. Humphrey and his family.

By telephone, Mr. Humphrey declined to discuss who was or wasn’t a past client of his investigations business ChinaWhys Co. but said the individual who allegedly “manipulated” Shanghai authorities was a former subject of his investigation work.

The statement from Mr. Humphrey coincides with a visit to the U.K. by Chinese President Xi Jinping. “The fact that (the Chinese president) here is significant, and hopefully the central government leadership will investigate what happened in Shanghai,” Mr. Humphrey said.

–James T. Areddy. Follow him on Twitter @jamestareddy.


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