DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE PUBLISHES GUIDE TO FACILITATE ASSET RECOVERY IN HONG KONG

The International Law Division of the Department of Justice has published a Guide to asset recovery in Hong Kong. The Guide outlines procedures for the restraint, freezing, confiscation and repatriation of proceeds of crime pursuant to international requests for legal assistance.

Hong Kong provides assistance in foreign investigations, prosecutions and certain other criminal matters pursuant to bilateral agreements with 28 countries signed under the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Ordinance (MLAO), as well as a number of multilateral treaties including the United Nations Convention Against Corruption 2003. The principle of reciprocity may apply where there is no bilateral or multilateral agreement in place with a particular jurisdiction.

The Guide explains the procedures to be followed when making asset recovery requests in Hong Kong and encourages direct contact first at the law enforcement level, followed by formal requests through Hong Kong's Mutual Legal Assistance Unit to bypass diplomatic or consular channels. The Guide also provides information on alternative methods of recovering assets under the Organised and Serious Crimes Ordinance and the Drug Trafficking (Recovery of Proceeds) Ordinance, as well as through civil proceedings. Finally, the Guide includes a useful checklist and contacts list.

SINOPEC'S CONSULTANT CHARGED WITH VIOLATION OF POBO

According to a Hong Kong ICAC news release, a former consultant of Sinopec, has been accused of accepting bribes totalling HK$600,000 and possessing illegal drugs, and was tried by a court in Hong Kong.  It was reported that at the time of the alleged offences, the defendant was advising Sinopec (Hong Kong) in relation to its business and affairs.  The bribery charge alleges that the consultant, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, accepted HK$600,000 from an operator of an investment company as reward for having shown favour to the operator and a petroleum transportation company in relation to Sinopec’s business.  The offences were reported to take place between October last year and January this year.  ICAC said that Sinopec (Hong Kong) and its parent company, CPCC, had offered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation.