Former Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang in high-profile bribery retrial

The former chief executive of Hong Kong, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, has been in the High Court defending a retrial of bribery charges on which a jury failed to reach a verdict earlier this year. In February 2017, Mr Tsang was convicted on a charge of misconduct in public office. However, the jury failed to reach a verdict on one charge of bribery under the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO). It is this charge that is being retried. See our earlier ebulletin on the original trial here).

The bribery charge arose out of various personal negotiations Mr Tsang had with a company chaired by businessman Bill Wong Cho-bau between 2010 and 2012 to rent and potentially purchase a penthouse apartment in Shenzhen. Around the time of these negotiations, companies owned or part-owned by Mr Wong had a number of applications (including a broadcasting licence) approved by the Executive Council of Hong Kong (Exco), which was chaired by Mr Tsang. The conviction for misconduct of public office resulted from Mr Tsang's alleged failure to declare these personal negotiations to Exco.

The bribery charge related to the HK$3.35 million redecoration of the Shenzhen apartment, allegedly paid for by Mr Wong's company. Mr Tsang is accused of "accepting an advantage" (the redecoration work) under the POBO as a reward for granting applications sought by Mr Wong's companies. In the retrial, the prosecution alleged that Mr Tsang was "sweetened" by the free renovations so he could become Mr Wong's friend in government. Mr Tsang has pleaded not guilty and we await the final verdict.

Independent Commission against Corruption launches ethical governance training

Over the coming year, senior managers at 2,000 Hong Kong- listed companies will receive online training by the ICAC to promote ethical governance and fight corruption. The digital training on business ethics, ”Corruption and Beyond”, will be available online, while ICAC officers plan to conduct in-person workshops and seminars for select managers. The initiative appears to build upon the ICAC’s recent Conference on Business Ethics for Listed Companies. It also coincides with the tightening of the listing rules by the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, under which companies have to disclose their anti-corruption policies in line with international standards.

Herbert Smith Freehills guide on dealing with dawn raids

Surprise inspections by governmental authorities are on the rise in Hong Kong. Drawing on our experience, we have published a guide to help deal with a raid by any of the key authorities in Hong Kong, notably the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the Securities and Futures Commission, and the Competition Commission. It provides step-by-step help with all aspects of a raid, as well as checklists of powers and duties, and a series of “golden rules” to follow in any raid. Since the guidance is practical, much of it can be deployed regardless of the jurisdiction and authority in question.

This publication can be used with our 24 hour Dawn Raid Hotline. It accompanies our crisis prevention and management app (CrisisPM), which gives high level advice on what to do in a series of emergency situations, including a dawn raid. Details of the Hotline and app can be found in the guide.

Click here for a preview of the guide.