The chief executive's former ally Lew Mon-hung was arrested by the graft-buster on Wednesday for criminal intimidation and perverting the course of justice, his listed company confirmed yesterday.
Pearl Oriental Oil's statement was the first confirmation of its vice-chairman's arrest this week by the Independent Commission Against Corruption. He was earlier arrested on January 8 as part of the ICAC's probe into the firm.
The latest development was believed to be in relation to a letter Lew purportedly wrote to Leung Chun-ying, asking him to intervene in the ICAC's investigation into Pearl Oriental Oil, or he would set off "political bombs".
In a statement last night, Pearl Oriental Oil said: "The company has been informed by [Lew] that he was arrested by the Independent Commission Against Corruption and was released on bail on February 20." Lew had spent five hours inside the ICAC headquarters in North Point that day.
Lew was arrested "mainly for a certain allegation that he might have attempted to pervert the course of justice and of criminal intimidation in respect of certain correspondence allegedly between [Lew and Leung]", the firm said. "As far as the board is aware, no charge has been laid against [Lew] by the ICAC," it said.
The board "believes that the allegation has nothing to do with the company, as the company and its other directors are not involved in the allegation, therefore … [it would have] no material impact on the financial position and operation of the group".
It added that Lew "has also informed the company that he strongly denies the allegation".
Last month, Lew made explosive claims about Leung in an interview with the iSun Affairs magazine. He accused Leung of lying about how he had dealt with illegal structures at his home on The Peak. He also said Leung had gone back on his word to appoint Lew to the Executive Council.
On Thursday, Lew insisted he had always "walked in the light" and said he believed "Hong Kong's laws are candid".