April 25 - Payments to a former top Hong Kong official are under scrutiny as part of a corruption probe involving the billionaire Kwok brothers. Paul Chapman reports.
PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Hong Kong's former chief secretary Rafael Hui, seen arriving at the Independent Commission Against Corruption on April 10th. Reuters can now exclusively reveal more details about his connection to the corruption inquiry centering on the billionaire Kwok brothers. A source with knowledge of the investigation says the anti-corruption watchdog is looking into payments to Hui totalling 2.5 million dollars. The payments were made from a Kwok-related entity and are among several key transactions under the spotlight, according to the Reuters source. It's not clear if the payments came from the Kwok brothers themselves, their Sun Hung Kai Property conglomerate, or a related subsidiary. Hui was arrested along with Raymond and Thomas Kwok on March 29th. The three, friends since childhood, have been released on bail. The Kwok brothers held a news conference early in April where they denied any wrongdoing. SOUNDBITE: RAYMOND KWOK, CO-CHAIRMAN AND MANAGING DIRECTOR OF SUN HUNG KAI PROPERTIES, SAYING (Cantonese): "I can tell you with accuracy that I myself have done nothing wrong. I also believe that Mr Thomas Kwok has done nothing wrong. I hope the results of the investigation will prove I am innocent." Five other people including Sun Hung Kai Properties executive director Thomas Chan have also been arrested and bailed over allegations of bribery and misconduct in public office. The arrests have sent shock waves through Hong Kong's business community. It's a small, interconnected group of tycoon-led families who control much of the city's business operations and wield major political influence. Paul Chapman, Reuters