Former Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen allegedly failed to declare his interest in an offshore company, according to new revelations from the leaked Panama Papers.

Documents related to Hong Kong companies were acquired by Ming Pao, HK01 and Next Magazine from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, which co-ordinated reporting efforts when papers were leaked from the Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca.

Tang was a shareholder of the company called Fair Alliance Investment Ltd whilst he was an Executive Council member between 1997 and 2002.

Henry Tang.
Henry Tang. File Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Three days before he was appointed commerce minister in July 2002, Tang transferred his shares in the company to his father in the name of a trust called Mein et Moi, of which he was the beneficiary.

Tang declared the trust when he became a minister, but did not name Fair Alliance.

“I have transferred all of my shares in my family companies to a trust of which my father is the trustee, and I am one of the eligible beneficiaries. I do not have the right to give instructions to the trust or its trustee,” wrote Tang in an Executive Council declaration of interest form in 2002.

panama papers
Photo: HKFP.

In a statement, Tang said he had declared the trust under Executive Council rules with a high degree of transparency, when he was a non-official member or a minister afterwards.

Fair Alliance was an investment vehicle for the Hong Kong Business Aviation Centre. Tang had an equal share in Fair Alliance with a partner Christopher Cheng Wai-chee, who still listed as a director in 2013.

Meanwhile, Barry Cheung Chun-yuen, a former Executive Council member, was also found to own seven offshore companies incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, according to HK01.

The seven companies were owned by Titan Oil (Asia) Limited, which was a subsidiary of Hong Kong listed Titan Petrochemicals Group Ltd, which Cheung was a top management member.

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.