Hong Kong

Employee of Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Guilty of HK$1 million Bribery Scheme

In December 2019, a former employee of a pharmaceutical manufacturer and a pharmacy operator were jointly charged with, and found guilty of, conspiracy for an agent to accept advantages, contrary to section 9(1)(a) of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance and section 159A of the Crimes Ordinance. 

The District Court heard that Gavin Wong, a former senior medical representative of Novartis Pharmaceuticals (HK) Limited ("Novartis"), conspired with a nurse at a clinic to make false representations to Novartis that various drugs had been ordered by a clinic, when in fact the drugs were delivered to Hygiene Medicine, a pharmacy operator. Novartis offered drugs at a lower price for medical institutes and registered doctors than pharmacies. Gavin Wong had been seen collecting drugs from the clinic, and delivering the same to Hygiene Medicine. 

Gavin Wong took advantage of the price difference of the drugs and illegally gained about HK$1 million. He was also found guilty of one count of conspiracy to defraud under the Common Law. 

Four Individuals Charged with Fraud and Misconduct in Public Office over CUHK Building Work

In November 2019, the ICAC laid charges of misconduct in public office, conspiracy to defraud and forgery against four individuals in relation to around 50 minor renovation works at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

It is alleged that three staff members of two student colleges at the University committed misconducted in the course of their public offices by dishonestly favouring a renovation company owner, who is the brother-in-law of one of the staff members. The staff members allegedly approved the procurement of renovation projects without disclosing the conflict of interests. By concealing the fact that a conflict of interest existed, the staff members fraudulently induced the University to approve the funding and expenditure of the renovation projects undertaken by the brother-in-law. 

One of the staff members was also found to have made false representations that certain quotations were genuine and competitive when in fact they were made up, and allegedly committed forgery by submitting a number of false quotations. 

China

Top Inner Mongolia Official Sentenced for Bribery 

In December 2019, the Dalian Intermediate People's Court issued the verdict concerning Xing Yun's bribery case. Xing Yun, the former vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for taking bribes worth RMB 449 million between 1996 to 2017. Xing will be sentenced to life imprisonment at the end of the two-year reprieve, and will not be allowed to commute the sentence or be granted parole.  

Xing was held to have taken advantage of his numerous positions and offered assistance to individuals and companies for promotion and project contracting, respectively, in exchange for the bribes. It is reported that a lighter punishment had been given to Xing for his confession, return of the illegally gained assets and disclosure of evidence of other people's corruption.

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission commenced investigation against Xing in October 2018. He was subsequently expelled from the Communist Party in April 2019.

Uygur Official Received Life Imprisonment for Corruption Charges  In December 2019, Nur Bekri, a former director of the National Energy Administration and former governor of Xinjiang, was sentenced to life imprisonment for taking bribes of more than USD 11.2 million between 1998 and 2018. 

The Shenyang Intermediate People’s Court heard that Bekri had solicited luxury automobiles for his relatives, attended lavish banquets and accepted extravagant gifts in exchange from those seeking favours. 

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection accused Bekri of leading a lavish lifestyle in breach of the Communist Party's rules and regulations. He was also accused of trading power for sex. 

Former Communist Party's Chief of Yunnan under Investigation for Suspected Corruption 

In November 2019, Qin Guangrong, the former provincial governor of Yunnan province and a former senior national legislator, was charged with bribery by prosecutors in Chengdu. 

A joint statement issued by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the National Supervisory Commission stated that Qin and his family took advantage of his position to seek personal gains. He accepted expensive gifts and lavish vacations offered by private enterprises and intervened in the transfer of mineral resources. 

Qin turned himself in to the investigating authorities – an act that entitled prosecutors to recommend leniency for his punishment under the National Supervision Law.

Former ICBC Shanghai Head Expelled from Party amidst Bribery Allegations 

In November 2019, Gu Guoming, the former head of the Industrial and Commercial Bank’s Shanghai branch, was dismissed from his office and expelled from the Communist Party amidst bribery allegations. 

The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection issued a statement that Gu was suspected of having accepted "extremely large amounts of bribes" by taking advantage of his position. It is further alleged that Gu made use of state-owned financial resources as bargaining chips with businessmen. 

This investigation against Gu is a demonstration of the hard-line approach taken by the Chinese authorities against the financial sector over the last few years. A number of key figures in Shanghai's financial sector, including Gu, had been the target of investigations.