Property firm named in Macau graft trial

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 April, 2012, 12:00am

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International property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle was named yesterday in connection with the corruption case involving jailed former Macau works chief Ao Man-long.

The company helped submit a bid on behalf of Moon Ocean, a Macau firm owned by Hong Kong tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung, for five pieces of land opposite Macau's airport, the Macau Court of Final Appeal heard. The application was endorsed, allegedly with Ao's help, despite a ruling by a bid review committee that it did not meet requirements, the court heard.

Ao, who was sentenced to 28 1/2 years' jail in 2009, is accused in one of nine fresh charges of receiving at least HK$20 million in the deal.

The five plots, measuring more than 78,000 square metres in total, were owned by a company with shares held by the Macau government and several private companies. It decided to sell the land in 2004 by inviting bids. But instead of having public bidding, Antonio Lourenco, former director of the Infrastructure and Development Office and manager of one of the private companies, invited three companies to bid.

The companies were Jones Lang LaSalle, CB Richard Ellis, and an STDM-Vigers joint venture.

Andre Ritchie, a former senior technician who reviewed the bid applications, said they should have been disqualified because of irregularities but Lourenco decided to award the land to Jones Lang LaSalle - which has been found to have submitted the bid on behalf of Moon Ocean - for 1.368 billion patacas.

Ritchie said he had no evidence Ao had interfered, but thought he could have as Lourenco had to report to Ao every week.

Another witness, Pun Pou-leng, who also reviewed the bids, said Lourenco told her it was Ao who decided to invite the three companies to bid.

The case continues.