The plot surrounding the Chinese corruption scandal at the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has decidedly thickened as it’s now been reported that a sex tape starring Mark Reilly, a former GSK China manager, is what sparked the ongoing bribery investigation into the company. Now we’ve got ourselves a real scandal.
GSK confirmed the existence of undercover footage showing Reilly (who’s separated from his wife) getting hot and heavy with his Chinese girlfriend in his Shanghai flat. The video was sent to top GSK executives, including chief exec Andrew Witty, by email on March 16 last year in what appeared to be a bribery attempt, according to The Telegraph.
Reilly was authorized to spend an initial £20,000 of the company’s funds to hire private investigator Peter Humphrey to track down the perpetrators, but a report code-named “Project Scorpion” indicated that he’d failed to establish who planted a camera in Reilly’s bed room. His internal investigations are believed to have led to Chinese authorities’ probe into corruption at GSK two months later.
Reuters added that the link between the tape and the bribery case has not yet been verified.
Humphrey along with his American wife were detained by Shanghai police on July 10 and formally accused of “operating illegal research companies and trafficking personal information”.
In May this year, the Serious Fraud office announced an investigation into GSK’s commercial practices and Reilly, who’s been barred from leaving China, was arrested on ‘charges of ordering his subordinates to form a massive bribery network that resulted in higher drug prices and illegal revenue of more than $150m (£88m)’.
GSK is said to be cooperating fully with Chinese authorities in the ongoing investigation, as one spokesman said on behalf of the company “We have zero tolerance for any kind of corruption”.