Tycoon Joseph Lau meets ICAC after his graft conviction in Macau

Tycoon 'consults' Hong Kong graft-buster - but details of the discussion remain confidential

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 April, 2014, 6:05pm
UPDATED : Friday, 04 April, 2014, 8:07am

Property tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung visited Hong Kong graft-busters yesterday to "consult on certain matters" after his corruption conviction in Macau last month.

The former Chinese Estates chief was spotted emerging from a black sedan and entering the offices of the Independent Commission Against Corruption in North Point yesterday afternoon. His girlfriend, Yvonne Lui Lai-kwan, arrived shortly afterwards.

Lau and fellow developer Steven Lo Kit-sing were each given jail sentences of five years and three months by Macau's Court of First Instance after being found guilty of corruption and money laundering. But they will not serve any time unless they return to the city voluntarily - although Hong Kong justice chief Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said this week that a deal on the transfer of fugitives could be close.

A woman claiming to represent Lau phoned media outlets yesterday to confirm that Lau visited the ICAC.

"Lau went to the ICAC this afternoon and consulted about something which I have to keep confidential," the spokeswoman said. She refused to be drawn on whether the meeting was related to the Macau case. Lau is understood to have visited the ICAC on his own initiative. A spokeswoman for the ICAC offered no comment.

Luis Mesquita de Melo, Lau's Macau lawyer, said he knew nothing of Lau's talks with the ICAC. A spokesman for Lo's company BMA Investment said Lo had no involvement with Lau's visit to the graft-buster.

Lau quit the chairmanship of Chinese Estates after his conviction, and his son, Lau Ming-wai, took over the post.

The court found that Lau and Lo offered a HK$20 million bribe to disgraced public works chief Ao Man-long to secure the site of their La Scala luxury development. The site is close to the Cotai Strip, the heart of the casino boom that has made the former Portuguese enclave the world's most lucrative gaming market.

Despite the lack of a fugitive-transfer agreement between the two special administrative regions, Hong Kong's ICAC did work with its Macau counterpart on the case against Ao.

Lau and Lo are appealing against the verdict.