The Democratic Party may file a complaint with the ICAC, as early as today, accusing Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen of offering a seat in the Executive Council to a rural leader as a political reward ordered by Beijing. Last night party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said he was seeking legal advice about how to proceed with what he called a potential scandal, which he said would damage Hong Kong's autonomy if true. 'This is a very serious matter as it involves whether the chief executive has used the appointment of Executive Council members as a political reward, and whether someone behind the scene has meddled in the Legco election,' he said. 'It is a very dangerous situation because many people in Hong Kong appear to accept the reality that Beijing can meddle with Hong Kong affairs anytime. What is at stake is Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy. 'We will never accept this as the reality.' At the centre of the row is rural leader Lau Wong-fat, who was named an Exco member by Mr Tsang on Tuesday. The appointment stirred controversy after veteran political figure Allen Lee Peng-fei claimed that a political source close to Mr Lau had already told him in July last year that he would be appointed after he gave up his Legco seat representing the district councils. Ip Kwok-him, a vice-chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, won Mr Lau's seat in September's Legco election. Mr Lau was returned through the seat representing the Heung Yee Kuk. The decision to give up his seat - together with his support for DAB candidates in the New Territories West constituency, where his Liberal Party colleague Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee was running - was allegedly the basis for the reward, according to Mr Lee. Mrs Chow, the former vice-chairwoman of the Liberals, subsequently lost in the election and Mr Lau has since quit the party. He has dismissed allegations that he was being rewarded with an Exco seat, saying: 'I'll let citizens judge.' The Chief Executive's Office also rejected the claims. Last night Mr Lee said he would not reveal the detail of his source unless formally summoned by the Independent Commission Against Corruption in an official investigation. 'But really, political rewards change hands all the time and it is difficult to prove such things as illegal,' Mr Lee said.