Glaxo Investigates Whistleblower’s Allegations of Syria Bribery

Jul 25, 2014 4:38 am ET

July 25 (Bloomberg) -- GlaxoSmithKline Plc said it’s investigating a whistleblower’s allegations that employees in Syria paid bribes to boost sales of consumer-health products.

Glaxo notified its compliance and legal departments after receiving the e-mail July 18, and it’s seeking more information from the sender, the London-based drugmaker said a statement.

“We have zero tolerance for any kind of unethical behavior,” Glaxo said. “We will thoroughly investigate all the claims made in this e-mail.” Reuters reported on the investigation late yesterday.

The allegations add another country to the list of those where Glaxo employees allegedly paid bribes. Chinese police in May handed a bribery case against Glaxo’s local unit to prosecutors, and the U.K. Serious Fraud Office in May began a criminal probe. Allegations also have surfaced of wrongdoing by company employees in Iraq, Poland, Jordan and Lebanon.

Glaxo has said employees in China acted outside the company’s processes and controls to defraud it and the Chinese health-care system, and it’s cooperating with the investigation.