U.S. corporate due diligence firm Mintz Group said on Thursday its Beijing office was raided by authorities and that five Chinese staff have been detained.
“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 an e-mailed statement to Reuters.
“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.”
A source at the New York-headquartered firm earlier told Reuters on condition of anonymity that the company’s local legal counsel said the raid occurred on the afternoon of March 20, and that the employees were being held incommunicado somewhere outside of Beijing.
The Chinese foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The company’s website says Mintz Group has 18 offices around the world and hundreds of employees.
Western due diligence companies have gotten into trouble with Chinese authorities before. British corporate investigator Peter Humphrey and his American wife Yu Yingzeng, who ran risk consultancy ChinaWhys, were detained in 2013 following work they did for British pharmaceuticals giant GSK.