Hong Kong's top prosecutor is "looking into" corruption allegations against former executive councillor Barry Cheung Chun-yuen - the same claims that were controversially dismissed by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
Kevin Zervos revealed he was examining the case as he met the media ahead of his retirement as director of public prosecutions on September 8.
After the ICAC said there was not enough evidence to pursue claims that Cheung received HK$70 million in low-interest loans from a developer, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said he deserved an apology. Leung also wanted an apology for former Exco member Franklin Lam Fan-keung, who was cleared after he was accused of profiting from insider information.
While Zervos, 61, would not comment on Leung's stand, he said what mattered was the sincerity of the complainants.
"If they are genuinely voicing their concerns, [the allegations] should be looked into. Political manoeuvrings don't detract from the fact that the investigations are needed," Zervos said.
Making an empty political gesture, on the other hand, was not right, he added.
The complaint about Cheung was made to the ICAC in May by Democratic Party chief executive Lam Cheuk-ting, who is also a former ICAC investigator. He later questioned the watchdog's decision to drop the probe without contacting the whistle-blower behind the allegations, veteran politician Allen Lee Peng-fei.
Cheung quit all his public posts in May when his failed Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange came under police investigation.
When asked about Lee's claims and their dismissal by the ICAC, Zervos said: "I'm looking into this case." He refused to disclose more details.
The ICAC said it had no comment on Zervos' remarks.
Meanwhile, Zervos said he felt "upset" hearing "untrue" comments that the department made political prosecutions against social activists. On Occupy Central - the civil disobedience movement set up by pro-democracy scholars that is planning action next summer to demand real universal suffrage - he disapproved of those who "advocate a breach of the law".
"When you decide to break the law, carry out an indefinite demonstration, you are affecting others and might be hurting others," he said.
He cited Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King as saying a civil disobedience movement should be based on "an unjust law", before noting: "Universal suffrage is in the Basic Law."
Zervos also repeated his call for the Securities and Futures Commission to be stripped of its power to prosecute because it lacks sufficient internal regulation and oversight.
Asked about the rumour that he may become a High Court judge, Zervos only smiled and said he had "many plans".