Leung Chun-ying

Hong Kong chief executive denies using influence to land daughter internship at major bank

JPMorgan earlier agreed to pay US$264 million settlement amid claims it won business by giving jobs to relatives and friends of clients

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 24 November, 2016, 8:04pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 24 November, 2016, 10:04pm

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has dismissed allegations that he used his influence six years ago to secure an internship for his younger daughter at an international investment bank

Leung Chung-yan was still at secondary school at the time and her father was convenor of the Executive Council, the body that advises the city’s chief executive, and a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the United States had alleged that JPMorgan’s Asia Pacific unit “won business from clients and corruptly influenced government officials in the Asia-Pacific region by giving jobs and internships to their relatives and friends”.

The investment bank agreed to pay US$264 million on November 17 to settle the charges.

Apple Daily reported on Thursday that Leung was embroiled in the case with his daughter’s internship.

In reply to a Post inquiry, the Chief Executive’s Office said Leung Chung-yan was an intern at the bank six years ago. “The matter is not connected to his public offices, nor was any money involved.”

JPMorgan’s Hong Kong office had “no comment” on Leung’s internship.

Chan Chun-ying, the Legislative Council member representing the finance constituency, also refused to comment.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Leung Chung-yan did many internships in prominent institutions before and after starting her degree programme in economics at the University of Cambridge.

One of them, in 2009, was at the Asia Society, which was headed by Ronnie Chan Chichung, Hang Lung Properties chairman and a long-time supporter of the chief executive.

She was also an intern at HSBC, Credit Suisse, Hang Seng Bank, management consulting firm McKinsey and the United Nations.

JPMorgan hiring ‘scandal’ settlement shows US regulators justifying their existence

The SEC said that between 2006 and 2013, JPMorgan hired about 200 interns and full-time employees at the request of its clients, prospective clients and foreign government officials.

In order to accommodate more client referrals, the bank created an unpaid training programme in Hong Kong nicknamed the “summer camp”, consisting mainly of social events, lectures, and classroom speakers. But the SEC said the bank took no compliance review of the participants.

The SEC said an anonymous banker “noted in 2010 that sponsoring bankers need to make a strong case for their referrals – minimum US$3m tangible fees sounds like a sensible benchmark”.

Earlier Brian Marchiony, a JPMorgan Chase spokesman, said “the conduct was unacceptable. We stopped the hiring programme in 2013 and took action against the individuals involved”.

In April the chief executive denied he had exerted pressure on airport staff to bypass security rules to deliver a piece of left luggage to Chung-yan at a boarding gate on March 28.

She left her luggage in a non-restricted area. An airport employee delivered it shortly before she took a Cathay Pacific flight to San Francisco.