CY Leung UGL payment saga

Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying likely to be grilled on HK$50 million deal at Legco Q&A session

Pan-democrats hope to raise questions on chief executive’s controversial arrangement with Australian engineering firm UGL

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 June, 2017, 8:50am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 June, 2017, 8:50am

With only weeks to go before he steps down, outgoing leader Leung Chun-ying looks set to spend his last Legislative Council meeting being grilled over his past business dealings, as the controversy over a HK$50 million payment he received from an overseas firm continues to rage.

The 90-minute question-and-answer session on Thursday morning is likely to be dominated by queries about the money that Leung received after Australian engineering company UGL’s 2011 purchase of DTZ, an insolvent property firm of which he was a director. The chief executive received the payment after his election as chief executive but did not declare it to his cabinet.

Legco set up a select committee last year to probe into the payment, and a political storm erupted earlier this month after Leung was found to have quietly asked pro-government legislator Holden Chow Ho-ding to amend a document on the direction of the legislature’s investigation.

Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying should answer Legco’s questions over UGL saga, says committee chairman

Last week, Leung, whose five-year term will end on June 30, dropped his strongest hint yet that he would not testify at the legislative probe, saying he had already come clean on the matter.

But Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting said the UGL payment would still be his priority if he had the chance to question the chief executive on Thursday.

“Leung hasn’t come clean yet … For example, he said he did not provide any service to UGL after signing the agreement with the firm – does this mean that I can also sign an agreement with [a property developer] before I take office and do not need to declare it? It doesn’t make sense,” Lam said.

Lawmakers who have a question for Leung need to sign up by pressing a button at their desk shortly before the meeting at 9.30am.

About 10 to 20 lawmakers will get the chance to ask a question. Lawmakers who pressed the button earlier and those who asked fewer questions since the Legco term started last year will be given priority.

Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu said his party’s priority is also to query the chief executive on the UGL deal.

“We want to ask him to clarify if he will come and testify at our probe,” Yeung told the Post.

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After his behind-the-scenes intervention was revealed, Leung had tried to turn the tables on his critics, asking lawmaker Kenneth Leung to quit the legislative probe as he was facing a defamation suit from the chief executive.

The pan-democrat refused to say what he would ask if he had the chance.

The pro-establishment camp is unlikely to bring up the UGL deal.

Ben Chan Han-pan, a party colleague of Holden Chow’s, told the Post that he would ask the chief executive to elaborate on the co-location of mainland and local immigration officers at the West Kowloon terminus of a high-speed rail link between Hong Kong and Guangzhou.