GlaxoSmithKline, the British drugs company that is the subject of a major criminal investigation in China, faced similar allegations from an internal whistleblower as early as January, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal.
Details of the claims made at the start of the year emerged as Chinese police widened their inquiry into the company, putting 18 more GSK employees in detention, according to state media reports.
An email from an anonymous whistleblower sent on January 16 to the entire GSK board, its auditors and several public relations staff, and copied to the Serious Fraud Office, appears to describe many of the same claims that are now being investigated by Chinese police.
However, GSK has repeatedly said it only became aware of the specific problems identified by police two weeks ago.
In the wake of the whistleblower email, GSK said it conducted a four-month internal investigation but “found no evidence of corruption or bribery”.
But the allegations listed in the email appear to be very similar to some of the wrong-doings now being alleged by Chinese investigators.