China authorities raid US due diligence firm, detain staff

Raid on the Mintz Group office comes as China prepares to hold its annual economic forum.

US due diligence firm Mintz Group has been raided in Beijing [File: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters]

Chinese authorities have raided the Beijing office of US-headquartered due diligence firm Mintz Group and detained five staff.

“We can confirm that Chinese authorities have detained the five staff in Mintz Group’s Beijing office, all of them Chinese nationals, and have closed our operations there,” the company said in a statement on Friday, the Reuters news agency reported.

“Mintz Group received no advance notice of the actions taken in Beijing this week, nor has the company received any official legal notice regarding a case against the company. We are confident that we and our employees have done nothing wrong.”

Reuters, citing an anonymous company source, had earlier reported that the office was raided on March 20 and the detained staff were being held incommunicado in a location outside of Beijing.

Criminal suspects in China can be held for months or even years at a time without being charged or having access to legal representation.

Mintz Group carries out investigations for companies dealing with allegations of fraud, corruption and workplace misconduct as well as background checks of new hires and clients.

The company has offices in 18 locations worldwide, including London, Mexico City, Dubai and Nairobi.

The raid comes as Beijing prepares to host the annual China Development Forum, billed as China’s Davos, from tomorrow in person for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla and Mercedes-Benz Chairman Ola Kallenius are among the high-profile executives expected to attend the event.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies