LONDON, July 17 GlaxoSmithKline said it
fired staff in China for bribing officials in 2001 in a case
that predates wider allegations of corruption for the British
drugmaker in the country by more than a decade.
About 30 staff in GSK's vaccines business were dismissed for
bribing Chinese officials, the Financial Times reported on
Thursday, after they were found to be involved in bribing
Chinese officials and taking kickbacks.
The emergence of the scandal could put the operations of
Britain's largest pharmaceutical firm in China under even more
U.S. and UK authorities are already investigating GSK for a
much bigger corruption scandal in China, involving what Chinese
police have said were elaborate schemes to bribe doctors and
GlaxoSmithKline said in a statement it had "zero tolerance"
for unethical behaviour of any kind.
"We investigate any allegations put to us and take action
where necessary," the company said on Thursday.
"The specific matters occurred more than 12 years ago. We
believe appropriate investigation and action was taken at the
Chinese police said in May they had charged the former
British boss of the drugmaker's China business, Mark Reilly, and
other colleagues with corruption.
U.S. authorities are investigating GlaxoSmithKline for
violations of U.S. anti-bribery laws in China following the
Britain's Serious Fraud Office has also launched a formal
criminal probe into the company.
(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by Jason Neely)