British-American couple in hot water in China scandal

|By:, SA News Editor

The husband-and-wife team whose company was retained by Glaxo (GSK -0.4%) to investigate an anonymous whistle-blower will be tried on charges of illegally acquiring private personal information reports the NY Times. The company hired ChinaWhys to look into the person who informed Chinese authorities of bribery by company representatives as a means to close business with local doctors. Glaxo also hired the firm to clarify the circumstances that enabled a camera to be placed in the Shanghai bedroom of Glaxo China Chief Mark Reilly. A subsequent video of Mr. Reilly and his Chinese girlfriend was mailed to CEO Andrew Witty.

The couple, Brit Peter Humphrey and American Yu Yingzeng, are being held at the Pudong Detention Center in Shanghai. Their trial is slated to begin on August 7. They have been indicted on charges of gathering personal household registrations (hukou), entry and exit records, phone records and business registrations. The maximum penalty for the charges is three years incarceration.

Glaxo's business practices are currently under investigation in Britain and Europe.