Now, ICAC is asked to investigate Barry Cheung

Request to look into rumour that he borrowed HK$70m from developer while heading URA

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 June, 2013, 3:38am

The anti-corruption chief has been asked to investigate allegations that former executive councillor Barry Cheung Chun-yuen borrowed HK$70 million from a developer while chairman of the Urban Renewal Authority.

Cheung quit the post last week as part of a blanket resignation covering all his public posts after being invited by police to assist their investigation into his failed Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange (HKMEx). The Securities and Futures Commission is also looking into the collapse.

The Democratic Party has written to Simon Peh Yun-lu, head of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, drawing his attention to a remark made by former executive councillor Allen Lee Peng-fei on the loan, said to have been made to prop up HKMEx.

Cheung denies there was any such loan.

"As an Exco member and URA chairman, Cheung must know many government secrets," Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan said yesterday. "One would wonder how he, running around for loans for the Mercantile Exchange, could perform his public duties free from intimidation and interference."

Cheung said: "I've never had any business or financial deals with those involved in my public duties, including developers. This is an irresponsible allegation based on no evidence."

Police and the Securities and Futures Commission are probing serious financial irregularities of his exchange. Six mainlanders have been arrested. The sixth man arrested, a 76-year-old, was released on bail last night, but has to report to police in late July. He was held on suspicion of using a false instrument, a police spokeswoman said. But no charge had been laid against him yet.

Last week, veteran politician Lee said on an RTHK programme that he "heard that a big developer particularly watched over Cheung ... Cheung was lent HK$70 million [at an interest rate of] 1 per cent per annum."

In the letter to the ICAC, the Democratic Party chief executive Lam Cheuk-ting, also asks for the rules governing declarations of interests for public officers to be looked at, with a view to extending them to cover liabilities in addition to assets. The ICAC said it was studying the proposals.

Three of the arrested mainlanders appeared before Kowloon City Court yesterday.

The prosecution said 10 fake bank documents, with values ranging from HK$5 million to HK$20 million, had been seized from a hotel where one of them, Lian Chunren was found.

Lian has been stated as the beneficiary of two other fake bank documents. His application for bail was refused.

The case is adjourned to July.