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Researcher fired for helping Qualcomm, China News says

A Chinese researcher has been fired from his position on a State Council committee for providing consulting services to Qualcomm Inc. amid an antitrust probe into the U.S. chipmaker, China News Service reported, citing a person it didn’t identify.

Zhang Xinzhu was paid “huge amounts” by Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) and violated disciplinary rules by producing material for the committee that argued the U.S. company didn’t engage in monopolistic practices, the Beijing-based state news service reported.

Qualcomm didn’t pay Zhang anything directly, said Christine Trimble, a company spokeswoman. The chipmaker commissioned a report from Global Economics Group LLC for submission to China’s National Development and Reform Commission, which is investigating the company’s activities in the country. That report was co-authored by Zhang. Qualcomm paid Chicago-based Global Economics its standard fee for such services, Trimble said.

David Evans, chairman of Global Economics, said that the company is unable to comment on the matter. Zhang is listed as one of the firm’s experts on its website.

Two calls to an office identified as Zhang’s by the research department of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences’ Institute of Quantitative & Technical Economics went unanswered.

China’s NDRC is investigating San Diego-based Qualcomm in relation to an anti-monopoly law, the world’s largest smartphone-chip maker said in November. Difficulties collecting license revenue in China were cited by Qualcomm last month when it gave a forecast for net income for the current quarter that fell short of analyst estimates.

Zhang was removed from his position on the State Council anti-monopoly committee’s special advisory group, China News reported.

Qualcomm is cooperating with the NDRC, which is probing the link between its chipset business and licensing business, President Derek Aberle said on a July 23 conference call. The “timing and outcome of any resolution remains uncertain,” he said.

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