China has fined British pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline 3 billion yuan (US$488.8 million) for bribery, the biggest fine ever given by a Chinese court, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.
The Changsha Intermediate People’s Court in the central Hunan province also sentenced Mark Reilly, the former head of GSK in China, and other executives of the company to between two and four years in jail with reprieves for their roles in the bribery, the report said.
The verdict, handed out behind closed doors in a single-day trial, is the culmination of a Chinese probe into the British drug maker which authorities made public in July last year, Reuters said.
Chinese police said then the firm had funnelled up to 3 billion yuan to travel agencies to facilitate bribes to doctors and officials.
GSK said in a statement on its website on Friday that the activities by the firm’s China unit were a “clear breach” of the company’s governance and compliance procedures.
“Reaching a conclusion in the investigation of our Chinese business is important, but this has been a deeply disappointing matter for GSK. We have and will continue to learn from this,” chief executive Andrew Witty said in the statement.
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