Two cabinet members in the current administration – Executive Council member Bernard Charnwut Chan and Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po – have been named in the Panama Papers leaked documents.

Leaked documents from Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca relating to Hong Kong companies were acquired by Ming Pao, HK01 and Next Magazine from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The consortium has been coordinating reporting efforts.

Bernard Chan
Bernard Chan.

The papers revealed that Bernard Charnwut Chan was a shareholder and director of two offshore companies, Robina International Group and Claremont Capital Holdings Ltd. According to Executive Council records, Chan declared his involvement in both of the companies.

Chan was also a director of some offshore companies that hold shares in Robina International Group, according to Next Magazine. But Chan did not declare interest in those companies.

Chan told Next Magazine that the companies were owned by his family and that he and his wife owned 1.05 percent of Claremont, therefore he declared the interest. He added that he did not declare the offshore companies that hold shares in Robina since he was merely an alternate or non-executive director, and that he was not required to declare it.

Secretary of Development Paul Chan Mo-po
Secretary of Development Paul Chan Mo-po. File photo: GovHK.

Secretary for Development Paul Chan’s family were also confirmed to be owners of two offshore firms. Chan previously admitted his family used Excellent Assets Limited and Fidelity Management Limited to manage his land interests following local media reports in 2013.

The Panama Papers showed that the companies had helped set up other offshore firms through Mossack Fonseca back in the 1990s.

In response to enquiries from HK01, Chan said that the companies provided professional services common to legal chambers and secretariat firms. He added that he had declared his interests according to the rules since becoming a minister.

Michael Tien Puk-sun
Michael Tien Puk-sun. Photo: Wikicommons.

Meanwhile, New People’s Party’s Michael Tien Puk-sun admitted he did not disclose to the Legislative Council that he was a director of offshore company Glorious Pacific Limited incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, along with his wife.

Tien told Next Magazine that the firm was used to buy and hold the membership of a Shenzhen golf club and that it has not conducted any business activities since 1997. He said he would declare it if he decided to run for LegCo again.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.