The trial of a British corporate investigator and his American wife who once worked with GlaxoSmithKline will be closed to the public and foreign consular officials, the South China Morning Post reported Thursday.
Peter Humphrey and his wife and business partner Yu Yingzeng were arrested a year ago.
They were charged with illegally buying and selling private information.
GSK had hired their Shanghai-based firm, ChinaWhys, to investigate e-mails from a former employee that alleged widespread bribery at the British drugmaker, the SCMP said.
The ex-employee was also suspected of circulating a sex tape of former GSK China head Mark Reilly with his girlfriend.
China police arrested Reilly in May. He and two China nationals who worked for GSK were charged with offering bribes to hospital personnel and doctors to boost GSK’s sales.
All three defendants face up to life in prison.
In July last year, China authorities accused GSK, the UK’s biggest pharma, of paying $482 million in bribes.
Humphrey and Yu are being held in Shanghai but it isn’t known where their trial will be held.
Authorities in China haven’t publicly linked the charges against Humphrey and Lu to the work they did for GSK
The SCMP said, “U.S. consular officials had been informed on Wednesday when visiting Yu that they would not be able to attend the trial, and that the decision to keep the trial closed had been made on the grounds of privacy, according to the couple’s family friends, who declined to be identified because of the apparent sensitivity of the case.”
Two months after his arrest, Humphrey appeared on China Central Television (pictured above) wearing an orange prison jumpsuit. He said he was sorry that he illegally profited from selling personal information.
The trial is scheduled to start August 7.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.