Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po failed to declare an office unit owned by his wife’s offshore company, according to the latest round of offshore records leaks.
Orient Express Holdings Inc., a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, was discovered in 2012 to own companies that held farmland in Kwu Tung in the New Territories and ran sub-divided units. Orient Express was owned by Chan’s wife Hui Po-ming and his son Chan Tian-hsing.
The company owns a commercial office unit in Causeway Bay and a residential unit in Happy Valley, according to the latest set of leaked documents from the Bahamas reported by Ming Pao on Thursday. Chan declared the residential unit to the Executive Council, but not the commercial unit.
Chan is currently on leave. Chan told Ming Pao through his press secretary that the commercial unit was the office of his wife’s company. But since he did not own the property and did not own shares in Orient Express, he was not required to declare it, Chan said.
Chan added that although he did not own the residential unit, he declared the unit because he lives there.
German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung acquired 1.3 million documents on Bahamian companies, trusts and foundations registered between 1990 and early 2016. The documents were provided to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and investigations were conducted with local media. The consortium previously coordinated media efforts for the Panama papers.
Four Bahamas companies
Citing the documents, Ming Pao reported that Chan was the director of four Bahamian companies:
- Bright Prospects Limited, a holding company;
- Right Vision Limited, another holding company;
- New Asia Alumni Syndicate Limited, which owned racing horses along with alumni from the New Asia College of the Chinese University of Hong Kong;
- Just Good Investments Limited, which invested in derivatives of a Hong Kong listed company.
In response, Chan said he had resigned as director of the four companies before he became a government official, and he did not own shares. Therefore he was not required to declare, he said.
Chan became the development secretary on July 30, 2012. Former secretary Mak Chai-kwong was arrested by the Independent Commission Against Corruption over a housing scandal and resigned on July 12 that year, after just 11 days in office.
Citing the documents, HK01 reported that on July 18 that year, Chan resigned as a director of Right Vision, but a Paul & Associates Limited became a new director on the same day. Chan owned 99.99 per cent of Paul & Associates Limited.
On July 25, 2012, Chan transferred all of his shares in Paul & Associates Limited to a Strategic Assets Holdings Limited, which was incorporated in Samoa.
Thereafter, Chan was officially no longer related to Right Vision. Right Vision held shares of a FTMS Training System (HK) Limited – which operated an accountancy school – until it was sold in September 2015. Chan was an accountant.
However, HK01 reported that Chan’s wife is still a director of Right Vision and Paul & Associates Limited.
Chan was accused of drunk driving in October 2012. The car that he drove was owned by Paul & Associates Limited, according to the report.
The report added that Strategic Assets Holdings Limited, which holds Paul & Associates Limited, owns one per cent of the Happy Valley flat Chan lived in until December 2012.