GSK ex-China head Mark Reilly to be deported from China

Mark Reilly, the former China head of British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline PLC, will be deported from China for his role in a corruption scandal and will not face jail time in the country, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

In what is a record penalty for the country, China on Friday fined the British pharmaceuticals giant 3 billion yuan ($488.8 million) for paying out bribes, the official Xinhua news agency said.

An employee of British drug firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) enters their office headquarters in Shanghai.
Peter Parks | AFP | Getty Images
An employee of British drug firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) enters their office headquarters in Shanghai.

Sources with knowledge of the matter said that Reilly had received a three-year suspended sentence and was awaiting details of his deportation. Meanwhile, four Chinese nationals also received suspended sentences of varying lengths, the source added.

Read MoreAllegations of GSK corruption spread to Syria

Under Chinese criminal law, bribery by a corporate unit can lead to a large fine and jail sentence for the unit's head.

GSK said it remained committed to China - a huge and growing market for pharmaceutical companies - and promised to become a"model for reform in China's healthcare industry".

"GSK Plc hasreflected deeply and learned from its mistakes, has taken steps tocomprehensively rectify the issues identified at the operations of GSKCI, and must work hard to regain the trust of the Chinese people," GSK said in a written apology.

Future commitments include investment in Chinese science and improved access to medicines across the country through greater expansion of production and flexible pricing, it said.

In addition to the high-profile Chinese case, GSK has been accused of corrupt practices, on a smaller scale, in Poland, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.