China to hold public trial of foreign couple who worked for GSK

Thu Jul 17, 2014 6:20pm EDT
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By Michael Martina

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will publicly prosecute a foreign couple linked to drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline Plc GSK.L. on charges of illegally obtaining private information, state media said.

The announcement comes after the United States and Britain raised concerns about access to the trial.

Chinese prosecutors announced charges against British investigator Peter Humphrey and his American wife, Yu Yingzeng, on Monday. The couple were detained last year following work they did for the British pharmaceutical company.

Two family friends with knowledge of the matter told Reuters earlier this month that the trial was set for Aug. 7 and would be closed to the public.

The couple "will be tried in public" the official Xinhua news agency said on Thursday, citing a statement from the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People's Court.

"The two defendants hope their families can attend the trail," Xinhua said.

It did not give further information about the decision.

A senior official of the U.S. State Department said the United States had been concerned that U.S. consular officers would not be allowed to attend Yu’s trial, despite the fact this was permitted by a 1982 convention between the two countries.   Continued...

A flag (L) bearing the logo of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) flutters next to a Chinese national flag outside a GlaxoSmithKline office building in Shanghai July 12, 2013. REUTERS/Aly Song