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No British nationals detained in GSK China case: sources

The logo of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is seen on its office building in Shanghai July 12, 2013. REUTERS/Aly Song
The logo of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is seen on its office building in Shanghai July 12, 2013. REUTERS/Aly Song

LONDON/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - No British nationals employed by GlaxoSmithKline Plc have been detained as part of an investigation into the British-based drugmaker in China, sources familiar with the situation said on Friday.

According to China's security ministry, executives from GSK have confessed to bribery and tax violations in a case involving a huge sum of money over an extended period of time, with bribes offered to doctors and government officials.

GSK, which says it was only told of the grounds of the investigation this week, said it had found no evidence of bribery or corruption in China, adding it would cooperate with the authorities.

Details of those being investigated remain unclear and a company spokesman declined to comment on a report in the Telegraph newspaper that at least 30 GSK staff in China had been put under house arrest and constant surveillance.

The charges of bribery make the GSK case the highest profile probe in China since four executives of mining giant Rio Tinto Plc were jailed in March 2010 for taking bribes and stealing commercial secrets.

Under China's legal system, the GSK executives will be formally charged after completion of the preliminary investigations.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler and Kazunori Takada; editing by Patrick Graham)

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