Sun Hung Kai brother denies involvement in probe: report
HONG KONG, May 2 — Walter Kwok, the eldest brother of the family that runs Asia’s biggest property developer Sun Hung Kai Properties, has denied that he is involved in a bribery probe that led to the arrest of his two billionaire brothers and a former top public servant, the South China Morning Post reported.
Hong Kong’s anti-graft body, the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), arrested Raymond and Thomas Kwok on March 29, along with Rafael Hui, a close family friend. Hui became the city’s chief secretary in 2005 after a stint at Sun Hung Kai as a consultant.
Part of the bribery investigation focuses on payments from Sun Hung Kai-linked entities totalling more than US$2.5 million (RM7.6 million) to Hui before and after his time as the city’s No. 2 government official, according to a Reuters report last month.
Raymond and Thomas Kwok have denied any wrongdoing, while Hui has not responded to attempts to reach him for comment.
Although Walter Kwok was chairman of Sun Hung Kai when Hui worked as a consultant to the property developer, Kwok told the Post that he did not know what Hui’s job was.
“He was employed by my two brothers and he worked for my two brothers,” the South China Morning Post quoted Walter Kwok as saying. “He did not have an office in Sun Hung Kai Centre... He was not an executive staff. I really have no idea what he was doing.”
Walter Kwok was embroiled in a family feud in 2008 that ended with him being ousted as chairman of the company. He has not been arrested as part of the ICAC probe.
“Maybe they know that I am not involved. As a matter of fact, I am not involved,” he was quoted as saying, when asked by the paper why he was not investigated by the ICAC.
Walter Kwok declined to comment on whether he or lawyer Ida Tong, a long-time friend, had spoken to the ICAC regarding the investigation, the paper reported.
Sun Hung Kai said on March 20 that Thomas Chan, the executive in charge of land purchases for the developer, had been arrested by the ICAC.
The ICAC has declined to comment while the probe continues.
Shares of Sun Hung Kai were trading up 0.4 per cent this morning in Hong Kong, lagging a 0.8 per cent gain in the benchmark Hang Seng index. The stock has lost 15 per cent since the arrests of Thomas and Raymond Kwok.
Walter Kwok said he had the legal documents to prove his one-third stake in the company, and that he would entertain a return to the company if invited by the board of directors. “I will consider,” he said, according to the newspaper.
The eldest brother remains a non-executive director of the company, but according to its website, he did not attend any of the four board meetings held during the last financial year.
Sun Hung Kai declined to comment on the Walter Kwok interview in the South China Morning Post. — Reuters