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Sinovac to launch internal investigation for bribery allegations

Sinovac Biotech Ltd. responded to allegations raised against the company's CEO in a recent report by Geoinvesting.

Geoinvesting alleged in a Dec. 21 report, citing court documents, that Yin Hongzhang, the former deputy director general of the Center for Drug Evaluation under the China Food and Drug Administration, and his wife Guo may have illegally received or requested 350,000 Chinese yuan from "general manager Yin" of Sinovac Biotech to help advance drug applications and evaluations.

The court documents in question did not disclose the full name of the individual at Sinovac involved in the alleged bribe, but Geoinvesting reportedly believes it may have been Yin Weidong, the current chairman and CEO of Sinovac.

Yin and his wife reportedly received bribes of more than 1.5 million Chinese yuan from several vaccine producers in both Beijing and Shanghai, Geoinvesting reported, citing court documents. Yin was apprehended by government authorities as part of an investigation in April 2015 and was removed from his position at the CFDA in June 2015, while Guo has recently been convicted with a prison sentence of three years and a probation of five years, according to Geoinvesting.

Sinovac said that its audit committee has authorized the launch of an internal investigation into the allegations made in the report. The committee engaged Latham & Watkins as independent counsel to assist with the investigation.

No legal proceedings or government inquiries have yet been made against the company or its CEO based on any claims in the report.

As of Dec. 23, US$1 was equivalent to 6.95 Chinese yuan.