An investigation by Fairfax Media revealed today that CY Leung has received almost £4 million (HK$50 million) in secret payments from an Australian company.
The payments were made in 2012 and 2013, whilst Leung was chief executive, though the arrangement was agreed upon before he took office.
The money was a result of a deal made with a company called UGL, which purchased an insolvent British property firm called DTZ Holdings.
Agreements made in 2011 left Leung – a director at DTZ – with a windfall that he has failed to declare. His office said that he wasn’t obliged to, as the deal took place before he became Hong Kong’s leader – plus, he resigned from DTZ before taking office.
However, documents obtained by Fairfax suggest that Leung agreed to “promote” the companies and not to set up a competitor to DTZ. Much of the value of DTZ was to be based on its business in Hong Kong and China. The payments ensured Leung would not obstruct the future success of UGL. Such agreements seemingly extended into Leung’s tenure as chief executive.
The investigation, and supporting documents, can be viewed in full here.
Today’s development has echoes of the Kwok scandal and some level of irony, considering that Leung ended up winning the 2012 election thanks largely to a scandal involving ‘illegal structures’ at his challenger’s home. This investigation makes Henry Tang suddenly look quite transparent.
It also provides a new escape route for the city’s much-maligned leader. Leung is able to step aside either for ‘family reasons’, owing to the issues surrounding his daughter, or in order to ‘clear his name’. Will Leung choose the blue pill or red pill?
Alternatively, if he is a total masochist, he could continue to cling on and emerge from the past fortnight without an ounce of legitimacy.