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ICAC arrest ex-SHKP head Walter Kwok


Lai Ying-kit
1:34pm, May 04, 2012

Sun Hung Kai Properties (SEHK: 0016)’ ousted chairman Walter Kwok Ping-sheung has been arrested in connection with a bribery investigation, the company said on Friday.

Kwok informed the board of directors on Thursday night of his arrest by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, it said. He has been released on bail.

The company has applied for trading in its shares to resume at 1pm on Friday, the company statement said. Trading was suspended on Friday morning in shares of Sun Hung Kai Properties and its unit SunEvision Holdings Limited.

Kwok’s arrest followed the arrests of his brothers Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, as well as former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan, on March 29 in a connection with a bribery investigation. Hui is the highest-ranking ex-government official to be arrested in the ICAC’s 38-year history.

Walter Kwok, now a non-executive director, was ousted from the family trust that controls Sun Hung Kai Properties two years ago, amid a feud with his two younger brothers at the top of the HK$245 billion empire.

In an interview with the South China Morning Post (SEHK: 0583announcementsnews)earlier this week, Walter Kwok said he had no knowledge of Hui’s involvement in the company’s business. Asked why he had not been investigated by the ICAC, Walter said: “Maybe they [the ICAC] know that I am not involved. As a matter of fact, I am not involved.”

Walter Kwok acknowledged that he was chairman of the company when Hui was recruited as a consultant. But he said he had no knowledge of what Hui did for the company, and denied reports that Hui was a consultant for his mother.

Sun Hung Kai Properties said a board meeting was held on Friday to discuss matters stemming from Walter Kwok’s arrest, and that none of the three Kwok brothers took part.

The arrests were not affecting business operations, and the company set up a special committee last month to handle all business matters, it said. The committee comprises one executive director and two non-executive directors.

“The executive committee continues to be responsible for the day-to-day management and operation of the company as usual,” it said.

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