China sentences GSK officials to prison: Xinhua

China sentences GSK officials to prison: Xinhua

BEIJING - A Chinese court on Friday sentenced the British former head of drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline's China operations and other ex-officials to between two and four years in prison, the official Xinhua news agency said.

But it noted that the sentences - which follow a nearly year-long graft investigation into the British firm - will be suspended for four years and that the defendants will be deported. It did not provide any further details.

The Changsha Intermediate People's Court in central China's Hunan province on Friday sentenced former chief Mark Reilly and an unspecified number of other GSK officials in a closed hearing, Xinhua reported.

Chinese police had accused Reilly of ordering employees to bribe hospitals, doctors and health institutions to gain billions of dollars in revenue.

The drugmaker was also fined 3.0 billion yuan (S$619 million) - reportedly the largest penalty ever handed down by a Chinese court - after it found GSK guilty of "bribing non-government personnel", the company said in a statement.

"The illegal activities of GSKCI are a clear breach of GSK's governance and compliance procedures; and are wholly contrary to the values and standards expected from GSK employees," the company said.

GSK did not mention the sentencing of Reilly or other officials in its statement.

Chinese police had alleged that Reilly "pressed his sales teams to bribe hospitals, doctors and health institutions" in order to gain billions of dollars in illegal revenue, Xinhua reported in May.

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