HONG KONG—Embattled Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is being dealt another blow, as a secret document revealed he had pocketed millions in secret payoffs from UGL, an Australian engineering company. The controversy broke into the papers just two days before members of Leung’s administration are to sit down and negotiate with student leaders of democracy protests in Hong Kong.
Citing a secret contract dated Dec. 2, 2011, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that UGL agreed to pay 4 million pounds (US$6.5 million) in two installments, in 2012 and 2013, after the company agreed to purchase the British property service firm DTZ holdings, for which Leung served as director and chairman of its Asia-Pacific operations before resigning on Nov. 24, 2011.
Four days later, on Nov. 28, Leung announced he was running for the chief executive of Hong Kong. And Leung won the election on Mar. 25, 2012.
Leung received the money when he was chief executive.
DTZ company was insolvent at the time of the sales, and while Leung received about 5 percent of the purchase price, unsecured creditors and shareholders of DTZ got nothing.
In response to the accusation of wrongdoing, the Office of the chief executive issued a statement saying that the payment Leung received was related to service he had provided when he was still with DTZ, and at that time, he was neither a public official nor chief executive.
In the document, Leung agreed to “provide such assistance in the promotion of the UGL Group and the DTZ Group as UGL may reasonably require, including but not limited to acting as a referee and adviser from time to time.”
Based on the wording, the payment appeared not to be limited to service Leung had provided before his resignation from the company.
Many people wondering if Beijing leaked story about CY Leung getting £4m in undisclosed payments to discredit him http://t.co/R53wt85GMZ
— Demetri Sevastopulo (@AsiaNewsDemetri) 2014 10月 8日
Politicians and citizens in Hong Kong have reacted with outrage.
Claudia Mo, a legislator from the Civic Party, said that it was obvious that Leung was getting paid for his future services, and she was contemplating impeaching Leung in the legislature, reported Chinese-language website DWnews.
— Channel NewsAsia (@ChannelNewsAsia) 2014 10月 8日
Frederick Fung, a legislator from the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood, echoed the call for impeachment.
Cyd Ho, a legislator from the Labor Party, was reported by Hong Kong’s TV station TVB as objecting strongly: “Is Leung doing two jobs at the same time and getting two paychecks? Will the people of Hong Kong accept the fact that besides being a public official, Leung also worked for a company?”
“This is a serious conflict of interest, and Leung didn’t declare it while pocketing the money. We, the people of Hong Kong, cannot accept such corruption,” said Ho.
Sin Chung-kai, a legislator from the Democratic Party, said he would use the powers and privileges of the Legislative Council and set up a special committee to investigate Leung and ask him to step down, Apple Daily reported.
Nancy Yau, a business owner, in an interview with Epoch Times, said, “I hope it’s true. This gives CY a good way to step down. A lot of people are unhappy with him, and they hope he’ll go away, so maybe his departure will cool down the temperature. … The students don’t feel he can play any useful role in discussions, and maybe Carrie Lam will do a better job as chief executive in resolving things.”