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Hongkong - Newsfolks Titel: Korruptionsskandal in der Kwok Familie
Datum:
02.04.12 - 11:07 Uhr
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South China Morning Post 
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"Ousted Sun Hung Kai scion Walter Kwok Ping-sheung has spoken to ICAC agents investigating allegations of corruption against his younger tycoon brothers Thomas and Raymond, who he claims expelled him from the real estate giant after a bitter family feud in 2008.
According to people familiar with the long-running probe – which led to the dramatic arrest of the younger Kwok brothers and former chief secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan on Thursday – Walter, 62, the eldest of the brothers, was asked questions by the Independent Commission Against Corruption about the company's operations on at least one occasion prior to the city's biggest corruption probe becoming public this week.



The timing, form and content of the communications with Walter are unclear, but a person with knowledge of the matter said: ''The family rift has been a factor. He [Walter] has been spoken to.'' Another such person said: ''This investigation has to be thorough, all the bases need to be covered.''

When asked yesterday if he had spoken to the ICAC Walter Kwok declined to comment.

Sun Hung Kai's co-chairmen – Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong, 60, and Raymond Kwok Ping-luen, 58 – were released on bail along with Hui, 64, late on Thursday night after hours of questioning at the commission's headquarters.

The ICAC yesterday refused to comment on the ongoing investigations into the allegations of bribery and misconduct in public office. No one has been charged.

The South China Morning Post (SEHK: 0583, announcements, news) understands the unprecedented probe relates to the former chief secretary's long-standing relationship with the Kwok brothers; allegations of more than HK$100 million in debt linked to Hui; and about a flat he rented from Sun Hung Kai and irregular land deals.

Hui is the highest-ranking former Hong Kong government official ever detained by the ICAC.

In a sign of the gravity of the matter, the anti-graft agent leading the probe was yesterday promoted – in an acting capacity – from principal ICAC investigator to assistant director of operations, a rank which only four people hold in the commission's frontline operations unit.

The Kwok family feud burst into the headlines in February 2008 when the company announced that Walter Kwok would take temporary leave of absence as chairman for personal reasons.

In May that year, Kwong Siu-hing, the then 79-year-old matriarch of the Kwok family, replaced Walter Kwok as chairman of Sun Hung Kai Properties (SEHK: 0016). An acrimonious feud ensued in which Walter Kwok was accused of suffering from bipolar disorder – a claim he rejects.

Kwong retired in December and the board appointed Thomas and Raymond Kwok as joint chairmen.

Shareholder activist David Webb said yesterday that if charges were brought against the Kwok brothers, they might not be in a position to continue their duties as chairmen.

Webb also suggested Walter Kwok might step in if his brothers' positions became untenable.

''It is notable that Walter Kwok has not been arrested. He is a member of the family,'' Webb said."