Corruption in China

Macau government in legal move over land deals

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 June, 2012, 12:00am


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The Macau government has 'initiated procedures' over the handling of five plots of land at the centre of a corruption case involving former public works chief Ao Man-long and two Hong Kong tycoons after a thorough study of the judgment.

It did not rule out invalidating the land deals for the luxury La Scala development, a government statement said last night.

The statement did not elaborate on the procedures. But it is understood that that the Macau Secretary for Transport and Public Works is seeking legal advice on the matter.

The bidding for the five parcels of land opposite Macau airport was won in 2005 by Moon Ocean, a company previously owned by Steven Lo Kit-sing, chairman of BMA Investment, and now owned by Joseph Lau Luen-hung's Chinese Estates. Macau's top court heard the tycoons offered Ao HK$20 million over the bid.

Ao was jailed for 29 years for corruption and money laundering. Lau and Lo have been charged with the same offences, which they deny, and face trial.

Macau lawmaker Au Kam-san said: 'If the government was not invalidating the land deals, it would not initiate any procedures.'

Macau lawyer Miguel de Senna Fernandes said the government could be clarifying the complicated ownership and legal matters behind the land deals. 'It is obvious the government is taking action by issuing a statement. It used the phrase 'did not rule out' because they have to keep the door open,' he said.

Meanwhile, Chinese Estates has announced the appointment of two more executive directors to join Lau who is chairman and chief executive of the company.

They are Lam Kwong-wai, 56, currently group financial controller and company secretary, and Sue Chan Sze-wan, 33, manager of sales and leasing. Lam joined the group in 1989. Chan, who spearheaded sales of La Scala - around 300 flats have already been sold - joined the group in 2002. She is the elder sister of Lau's assistant Chan Hoi-wan, who had a daughter by him.