Former chief executive Leung Chun-ying has sent a legal letter to lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ying accusing him of making “false accusations” about an alleged case of corruption. It came after Lam received a reply to his complaint against Leung from the UK’s corruption watchdog.
In a statement sent to Lam through his lawyer Peter Sit, Leung said he reserved the right to take action against him following a statement he made on Wednesday. Lam had told reporters that Leung had violated Britain’s anti-corruption laws, as he claimed Leung’s deal with Australian firm UGL was reached while he was still a director of DTZ, a listed company in the UK which was later acquired by UGL. Leung’s lawyer said it was a false statement.
“Lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting ignored the facts which have already been explained in Legislative Council documents and revealed by other publicly accessible information,” the statement read.
Leung received a payment of HK$50 million from UGL in exchange for agreeing not to join rival companies within two years, after it bought DTZ. The statement said Leung was no longer a DTZ director when the deal was signed.
Although Leung was a director at DTZ before running for chief executive, parts of the payment were received during his tenure as Hong Kong’s leader. He did not declare the sums to the Executive Council and argued that it was unnecessary to do so as it was a normal “non-compete and non-poach” agreement.
Previously, Lam went to the UK’s National Crime Agency to report Leung’s deal.
Hours before Leung’s statement was issued, Lam said he received a reply from the agency’s Director-General Lynne Owens, who said she had directed its Bribery and Corruption Intelligence Unit to review information he submitted. She said they will examine whether any criminality had occurred that might fall within its jurisdiction. Owens also said she will would keep Lam “personally updated” on the progress.
In response to Leung, Lam said his accusation was based on facts and analysis by his lawyers. He said Leung’s deal may have betrayed the interests of DTZ’s directors and shareholders and may have violated the law.
“I reserve the right to file further criminal complaints, including potential visits to the relevant authorities in Australia to complain about his possible involvement in transnational bribery,” Lam said.
He also urged Leung to attend a Legislative Council committee investigating him. Leung has never attended any of the meetings and was criticised for being uncooperative.
Leung had issued a legal letter in October 2014 to Australia’s Fairfax Media, which first broke the UGL deal.
He also issued two legal letters to Apple Daily in six months over reports in the paper relating to the matter.
In March, Leung became the first chief executive to sue a lawmaker for libel over the case.