Hong Kong anti-corruption authorities have formally charged a former senior executive of the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) for misconduct in public office and accepting an advantage as a public servant. Former joint-head of the bourse operator's initial public offering (IPO) vetting team, Eugene Yeoh Kim-Loong was formally charged on Wednesday.
The 43-year old former executive was found guilty of accepting more than HK$9.15 million or roughly around $1.18 million in bribes during his tenure between June 2017 and April 2019. He reportedly received the bribes from IPO consultants who wanted the bourse to support and prioritize specific listing applications.
The charges against Yeoh were filed by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), the city's anti-corruption agency. While the HKEX is technically a listed company, under Hong Kong's corruption law, its staff members will be treated as public servants as the company does regulate other listed companies.
Apart from Yeoh, a consultant that was found to be guilty of giving the bribes named Richard Lum Chor-wah was also charged. The ICAC charged the 60-year-old consultant with offering an advantage to a public servant. According to the ICAC's investigation, Lum had been transferring money to Yeoh through his wife Hao Yuanyan.
Both Yeoh and Lum were arrested by authorities back in June following a complaint filed by the city's Securities and Futures Commission (SFC). The charges against the two were officially made by the West Kowloon Magistracy on Wednesday. The prosecution was allowed to seek further legal advice for the case, which was adjourned to June 3 in the city's Eastern Court.
Yeoh and Lum were granted bail set at HK$100,000 each on the condition that they both will stay in Hong Kong until the case is resolved. The defendants were also given strict orders not to contact or interfere with prosecution witnesses, which may include their former co-workers.
After the charges were filed, the bourse operator released a statement that mentioned that it was fully cooperating with the anti-corruption agency regarding the matter. The HKEX added that it was committed to the highest standards of professionalism and integrity in its business and it will do everything it can to keep its role as the city's leading financial center.
The Hong Kong government issued a statement revealing that it will be conducting its own review of the HKEX's IPO vetting process. A government spokesperson stated that the reputation of the city and its stock exchange as a leading financial center is of utmost importance. The spokesperson added that the government currently has a zero-tolerance for corruption and bribery for all of its agencies, including the HKEX.