China convicts two corporate investigators linked to bribery allegations
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 0709 GMT (1509 HKT)
- Peter Humphrey and wife Yu Yingzeng sentenced to at least two years in prison
- Pair admitted to obtaining personal information on Chinese citizens by illegal means
- They did work on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline's China arm
- The drug giant faces allegations of bribery
Hong Kong (CNN) -- An expatriate corporate investigator has been sentenced to two and a half years in a Chinese jail after being found guilty of stealing and selling personal information for profit, Chinese state media has reported. His wife and business partner was also found guilty of the same charge and was handed a two-year prison sentence.
Briton Peter Humphrey, who has been in detention since July 2013, appeared in a Shanghai court on Friday at the same time as his
wife and business partner Yu Yingzeng. Yu is a Chinese-born U.S. citizen.
READ: GSK-linked investigator's trial begins
According to a court statement quoted by official news agency Xinhua, the pair confessed to obtaining private information about Chinese citizens by "illegal means."
They said they would write reports based on this information and sell them to multinational companies.
In court, Humphrey said that he had conducted a two-month investigation on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline's China management into who had filed formal allegations of bribery against the company, Xinhua reported.
Chinese police have accused GSK executives in China of presiding over a web of corruption and bribery. GSK has said its China business is fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation.
READ: China scandal takes toll on Glaxo
In a July 3 statement, GSK said it had hired Humphrey's firm in April 2013 to conduct an investigation following a serious breach of privacy and security related to the company's China general manager.
Humphrey is a veteran corporate detective -- an investigator, similar to a private detective, but one which sniffs out corporate malfeasance -- who spent more than 20 years as a foreign correspondent with Reuters, including stints in Beijing and Eastern Europe.
ChinaWhys, the investigations consultancy that Yu and Humphrey established, assisted in assessing corporate risks, conducting background checks and investigating allegations of corruption and fraud.
The couple's son, who attended court, had told CNN that he believed it would be easier for his parents if they pleaded guilty.
"I'm hoping it will be a situation where they plead guilty and they go for a mitigation defense strategy, and just try to make it as lenient a sentencing as possible," he said before the trial.
READ: China bars Glaxo exec from leaving country
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1113 GMT (1913 HKT)
A smuggler in Dandong, a Chinese border town near North Korea, tells CNN about the underground trade with North Korean soldiers
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 0654 GMT (1454 HKT)
Yenn Wong got quite a surprise one morning earlier this month when she found out an exact copy of her Hong Kong restaurant had opened in China.
October 15, 2014 -- Updated 0315 GMT (1115 HKT)
When I first came across a "virtual lover" service on e-commerce site Taobao, China's version of Amazon, I thought it was hype.
October 14, 2014 -- Updated 1315 GMT (2115 HKT)
Each year Yi Jiefeng does what she can to stop China turning into a desert.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 1454 GMT (2254 HKT)
As its relationship with the West worsen, Russia is pivoting east in an attempt to secure business with China.
October 8, 2014 -- Updated 0229 GMT (1029 HKT)
Aspiring Chinese comics performing in Shanghai's underground comedy scene hope to bring stand-up to the masses.
September 30, 2014 -- Updated 1654 GMT (0054 HKT)
Liu Wen is one of the world's highest-paid models and the first Chinese face to crack the top five in Forbes' annual list of top earners.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Cunning wolf? Working class hero? Or bland Beijing loyalist? C.Y. Leung was a relative unknown when he came to power in 2012.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
App hopes to help those seeking a way out of China's overstrained public health system.
October 3, 2014 -- Updated 0020 GMT (0820 HKT)
Yards from pro-democracy protests, stands the Hong Kong garrison of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), China's armed forces.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
The massive street rallies that have swept Hong Kong present a major dilemma for China's leadership.
September 27, 2014 -- Updated 0707 GMT (1507 HKT)
Chinese wine drinkers need to develop a taste for the cheap stuff, not just premium red wines like Lafite.
September 24, 2014 -- Updated 0109 GMT (0909 HKT)
The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, set off a media kerfuffle this month when he spoke about his next reincarnation.
September 28, 2014 -- Updated 1418 GMT (2218 HKT)
He's one of the fieriest political activists in Hong Kong — he's been called an "extremist" by China's state-run media — and he's not old enough to drive.
September 23, 2014 -- Updated 0257 GMT (1057 HKT)
China has no wine-making tradition but the country now uncorks more bottles of red than any other.
September 16, 2014 -- Updated 0929 GMT (1729 HKT)
Christians in eastern China keep watch in Wenzhou, where authorities have demolished churches and removed crosses.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 0538 GMT (1338 HKT)
Home-grown hip-hop appeals to a younger generation but its popularity has not translated into record deals and profits for budding rap artists.