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ICAC charges Kwoks, Hui with corruption

Lai Ying-kit
6:19pm, Jul 13, 2012

Sun Hung Kai Properties (SEHK: 0016) co-chairmen Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan, and two others appeared in court on Friday afternoon to face charges over one of the highest-level corruption cases in Hong Kong’s history.

Their appearance in Eastern Court came hours after the Independent Commission Against Corruption formally laid charges against them.

All eight offences involve Hui while Thomas and Raymond Kwok face two and three charges respectively.

Two others involved in the case are SHKP executive director Thomas Chan Kui-yuen and Francis Kwan Hung-sang, a former official at Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (SEHK: 0388announcements,news) .

The ICAC said the offences allegedly took place between June 2000 and January 2009 when Hui wasmanaging director of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority and then chief secretary, the second highest ranking official in Hong Kong

Prosecutors told the court on Friday afternoon that the advantages received by Hui totalled about HK$34 million.

Hui faced two charges of misconduct in public office. These allege that he wilfully misconducted himself by accepting the rent-free use of two flats and two unsecured loans while failing to disclose or declare these to the government and the MPFA, and “involving himself in matters in his official capacities”, the ICAC said.

Prosecutors told the court the flats were at luxury development Leighton Hill in Causeway Bay. The two loans amounted HK$900,000 and HK$1.5 million respectively and were advanced by a Sun Hung Kai subsidiary.

Hui allegedly failed to declare these interests to the MPFA when the authority considered a tenant contract renewal for its office at IFC phase one, which was jointly managed by Sun Hung Kai Properties.

Hui and Thomas Kwok face a joint charge of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, while Hui and Raymond Kwok jointly face a similar conspiracy charge.

The charge alleges that Hui, as the chief secretary, received HK$5 million from Thomas Kwok and another HK$4.12 million from Raymond Kwok as rewards for him to remain favourably disposed to them.

Hui, Thomas Kwok, Chan, and Kwan are also charged with one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office.

The charge alleges that they conspired together for Hui to receive a series of payments totalling HK$8.35million from Thomas Kwok, Chan and Kwan.

Hui and Raymond Kwok face one count of conspiring to extend annually another unsecured loan, amounting HK$3 million, for Hui as a reward for him to remain favourably disposed to Raymond Kwok and/or his interests.

Hui, Chan and Kwan are jointly charged with one count of conspiring to offer Hui a series of payments totalling HK$11.18 million from Chan and Kwan as a reward for Hui to remain favourably disposed to Chan and his interests.

Hui and Raymond Kwok also jointly face one count of producing false information on an invoice for settlement of consultancy fees.

No plea was taken on Friday.

Thomas and Raymond Kwok have been freed on HK$10 million bail each. Hui and Chan were granted HK$500,000 bail and Kwan was released on HK$200,000 bail.

The case has been adjourned to October 12.

Leaving the court, Raymond Kwok said he was innocent.

“I believe I have done nothing wrong. I have confidence that justice is upheld in Hong Kong’s judicial system. I will defend myself from the accusations with my best efforts to clear my name,” he said.

Friday’s developments came about three months after the arrests of Thomas and Raymond Kwok and Hui on March 29.

The Kwoks’ elder brother, ousted former chairman Walter Kwok Ping-sheung has also been arrested in the investigation, but it remained unclear whether he would be charged.

Trading in Sun Hung Kai shares was suspended on Friday morning.

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