GSK-linked couple sentenced to prison

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Government anti-trust advisor sacked for helping Qualcomm in monopoly probe

China’s State Council has sacked one of its senior advisors for allegedly helping Qualcomm Inc. in an anti-trust probe in exchange for $975,000 in consulting fees. 

Zhang Xinzhu (pictured), a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and an advisor to the State Council’s Anti-Monopoly Commission, was fired on August 12 for “violating work discipline,” reports said.

Zhang told the media he was fired because of “speaking for foreign firms.”

Sources said Qualcomm hired Zhang without approval from the State Council. Qualcomm had paid him $975,000 for his assistance in providing a report to China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) to show that the company didn’t engage in monopolistic practices.

Qualcomm said it didn’t pay Zhang directly because the report was done by Global Economics Group LLC and co-authored by Zhang. The fee was paid to Global Economics for its services. Zhang also denied accepting the payment.

The NDRC started investigating the U.S. chipmaker for alleged overcharging and abusing its market position in November last year. It has nearly completed investigation and found that Qualcomm charged excessive license fees, according to reports.

The company faces a penalty of up to 7 billion yuan ($1.13 billion).

China’s recent anti-trust enforcement actions have raised concerns abroad. The EU has urged China to ease its action and not to target foreign companies.
Sources: Reuters, China Daily, Beijing Youth Daily (北京青年报)

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