China prevents GlaxoSmithKline finance chief from leaving country

A GlaxoSmithKline spokesman confirmed Wednesday that Chinese officials have placed travel restrictions on the company's finance chief in the country Steve Nechelput. According to people close to the matter, the travel ban is related to the probe by Chinese authorities into alleged bribery at the drugmaker, The Wall Street Journal reported.

According to the GlaxoSmithKline spokesman, Nechelput has not been questioned, arrested or detained by police and is free to move around the country. The travel restrictions, which prevent Nechelput, a British national, from leaving the country, were reportedly imposed at the end of June. "We are aware of an incident on the 27th of June involving British national Steve Nechelput and we are providing consular assistance," a spokesman for the UK Consulate in Shanghai said.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Public Security released further details of its investigation into GlaxoSmithKline, revealing that the drugmaker transferred as much as 3 billion yuan ($489 million) to around 700 travel agencies and consultancies to facilitate bribes. Four senior Chinese executives from the company have also been detained as part of the probe.

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