26 Mar 2020
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), Hong Kong’s anti-corruption watchdog, charged a former senior executive of bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing on Wednesday for accepting HK$9.15 million (US$1.18 million) in bribes between 2017 and 2019.
Eugene Yeoh Kim-loong, 43, the former joint-head of the initial public offering (IPO) vetting team of HKEX’s listing department, is said to have accepted the amount in bribes between June 20, 2017 and April 30, 2019, from an IPO consultant for supporting certain listing applications. He has been charged with two offences, accepting an advantage as a public servant and for misconduct in public office, the ICAC said.
Although HKEX is a listed company, it is also a frontline regulator for other listed companies, so its staff is treated as public servants under Hong Kong’s corruption law. Richard Lum Chor-wah, 60, the consultant, has therefore been charged with offering an advantage to a public servant.
Lum transferred the money to Hao Yuanyan, Yeoh’s wife, the ICAC said. Yeoh, who was responsible for vetting listing applicants, did not declare a conflict of interest when he recommended IPOs handled by Lum.
The bourse operator said it was cooperating fully with the ICAC. “HKEX promotes the highest standards of integrity and professionalism across its business, and is committed to continuing to play its role in maintaining the integrity of Hong Kong as a leading financial centre,” a spokesman said on Wednesday.
IPOs are big business for Hong Kong – the city has been the world’s top new listings destination seven times in the past 11 years.
Yeoh and Lum, who were arrested by the ICAC in June last year after a complaint by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), were brought before the West Kowloon Magistracy on Wednesday. The case has been adjourned to June 3 for mention in Eastern Court, to allow time for the prosecution to seek legal advice.
By Enoch Yiu and Brian Wong, South China Morning Post, 25 March 2020
Read more at South China Morning Post
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