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Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, which was slapped with a record $489m (£304.26m) fine for corruption in China last month, said yesterday it was looking into allegations of corruption in the United Arab Emirates.

Britain’s biggest pharmaceuticals group confirmed the investigation following allegations of improper payments set out in a whistleblower’s email sent to its top management on Monday.

The company is already investigating alleged bribery in a number of Middle East countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Iraq, as well as Poland.

“As we have already said, we are undertaking an investigation into our operations in the Middle East following complaints made previously. This investigation continues and these specific claims were already being investigated as part of this process,” a GSK spokesman said.

GSK and other major drugmakers are under increased scrutiny in the wake of the high-profile Chinese case and law enforcement agencies in both the US and Britain are clamping down on overseas corruption by multinational companies. Other pharmaceutical companies, too, are in the firing line for alleged improper sales behaviour.

France’s Sanofi said on Monday it had informed US authorities of allegations of improper payments by its employees to healthcare professionals in East Africa and the Middle East.