LONDON, July 20 Chinese authorities have
arrested a British contractor as part of an inquiry linked to
allegations of bribery and corruption at drugmaker
GlaxoSmithKline, Britain's foreign office and a source
familiar the matter said on Saturday.
Earlier this week Chinese police accused GlaxoSmithKline
(GSK) of bribing officials and doctors to boost sales and raise
the price of its medicines in China. They said GSK transferred
up to 3 billion yuan ($489 million) to 700 travel agencies and
consultancies over six years to facilitate the bribes.
"We are aware of the arrest of the British national in
Shanghai in China on July 10," a British Foreign Office
spokesman said. "We are providing consular assistance to the
He did not have any further details regarding the nature of
However, a source familiar with the situation said the
arrested man was from an international business risk advisory
firm who had worked with the pharmaceuticals sector in China.
A spokesman for GSK, Britain's biggest drugmaker, said the
man had never been an employee of GSK but declined to give
On Friday, GSK chief executive Andrew Witty sent its head of
emerging markets and two other executives to China to address
the crisis and help Chinese authorities get to the bottom of
allegations it has called "shameful" and which have shaken
confidence in GSK's internal procedures.
China has already detained four senior Chinese executives
and banned GSK's finance chief in China, Steve Nechelput, from
leaving the country.
Britain's Times newspaper reported on Saturday that the
arrested Briton was part of a swoop in Beijing and Shanghai in
the past week which had seen at least 10 corporate intelligence
consultants detained or arrested.
The paper, which based its report on unnamed sources, said
the round-up extended beyond GSK to other drugmakers working in
China, and said Chinese investigators were building their case
on information from at least two insiders who had possibly been
embedded within GSK's Chinese operations since 2006.
Belgian drugmaker UCB said on Thursday its office
in Shanghai had been visited by officials from the State
Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) seeking
information on compliance.
The SAIC is one of China's main three anti-trust regulators
in charge of market supervision.