Sat, Jul 14, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Billionaire HK tycoons charged in bribery case

Reuters, HONG KONG

Thomas Kwok (郭炳江) and Raymond Kwok (郭炳聯), the billionaire co-chairmen of Sun Hung Kai Properties, and Rafael Hui (許仕仁), Hong Kong’s former No. 2 public official, were charged yesterday in a bribery investigation surrounding Asia’s largest developer.

The Sun Hung Kai probe, Hong Kong’s biggest corruption case since its anti-graft agency was formed nearly 40 years ago, involves one of Asia’s most powerful families and the world’s second-largest property company, with a market capitalization of US$32 billion.

The charges come amid other investigations of government officials and a turbulent political transition that has set off waves of protests from citizens angry about a host of issues including cronyism and cozy ties between government officials and the city’s tycoons.

Yesterday’s charges came a day after the anti-graft agency arrested Hong Kong’s development secretary on suspicion of corruption, dealing a fresh blow to the territory’s new leader, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (梁振英).

Two others have also been charged in the Sun Hung Kai case. Thomas Chan (陳鉅源), the Sun Hung Kai board member in charge of land purchases, and Francis Kwan (關雄生), a former banker, were charged by the territory’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). Kwan is a friend of Hui’s, sources said, and a former chief operation officer of the Hong Kong Futures Exchange.

A total of eight charges were filed against the five men, including conspiracy to offer advantages to a public servant and misconduct in public office.

Hui, Thomas and Raymond Kwok and Thomas Chan all appeared at a Hong Kong court to hear formal charges yesterday afternoon.

It was not immediately clear if Francis Kwan appeared.

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