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Ex GSK China head faces bribery charge

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 01:44

May 14 - Chinese police have charged the British former China head of drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline and other colleagues with corruption. As Hayley Platt reports it follows allegations the drugmaker made billions of yuan from bribing doctors and hospitals.

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It's 10 months since China first accused GlaxoSmithKline of bribing doctors and hospitals to use their products. Now police have brought corruption charges against the British former head of UK drugmaker's China operation. Mark Reilly is also suspected of bribing industry officials and commerce departments in Beijing and Shanghai, according to a Chinese news agency, which quoted local police. Two former Chinese executives have also been charged. Zhao Hongyan and Zhang Guowei were interviewed by state TV. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) FORMER GLAXOSMITHKLINE EXECUTIVE ZHAO HONGYAN SAYING: "On one occasion in Beijing, Mark Reilly, myself and Liang Hong were having dinner, and we briefed Mark on our relationship building with the Beijing Industry and Commerce Bureau. Liang Hong mentioned that costs would be involved when building relations. Mark Reilly's response at that time in English was 'go ahead'." (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) FORMER GLAXOSMITHKLINE EXECUTIVE ZHANG GUOWEI SAYING: "I feel very sorry and regretful for the damage caused to society, individuals and patients by the company's criminal activities." The charges have shocked the business community in Shanghai - and were harsher than expected. GSK had previously said only Chinese officials were involved. Sanctions against the company are also a possibility. GSK's revenue in China leapt to $1.1 billion in 2012, almost double what it was three years earlier when Reilly first took charge. The police haven't revealed the amounts of money involved. But last year they said GSK funneled almost $500 million to travel agents to facilitate bribes - a crime which carries a life sentence in China. The scandal is also the biggest to hit a foreign company in the country since the Rio Tinto affair in 2009. That resulted in four executives, including an Australian, being jailed for between seven and 14 years.

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Ex GSK China head faces bribery charge

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 01:44