The anti-graft agency has decided to launch an investigation into Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s secret intervention into the legislative probe over him, local media have reported.

Several news outlets including Apple Daily, Ming Pao and Now TV, have cited unnamed sources as saying that a file has been opened following democrats’ complaints.

Pro-Beijing lawmaker Holden Chow allowed Leung to alter secretly the scope of a legislative investigation into his controversial HK$50 million payment from Australian firm UGL.

cy leung chun-ying
CY Leung. Photo: Legislative Council.

The incident was exposed last month. Leung admitted his involvement, but denied any wrongdoing. Leung will leave office on July 1.

Several pro-democracy lawmakers, including Ted Hui, Roy Kwong and Claudia Mo, reported the incident to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), alleging that Leung and Chow committed misconduct in public office.

UGL acquired DTZ in 2011, a company of which Leung was a director, before he became Chief Executive in 2012.

Leung had often argued that the agreement with UGL was a normal “non-compete and non-poach” agreement, therefore he did not need to declare any interest to the Executive Council. Parts of the payment were received during his tenure as Hong Kong’s leader.

ICAC. File photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

An ICAC spokesperson told local media that in general, it will not comment on individual cases, but it is the ICAC’s statutory duty to follow up on all pursuable corruption complaints in accordance with the law and established procedures, if there is enough information.

Lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting, a former ICAC investigator, has previously claimed that Leung was also under investigation for receiving the UGL payment and not declaring the interest.

The ICAC is responsible to the chief executive.

Chow was forced to resign from the investigation committee following the scandal. A legislative committee will be formed to decide whether Chow should be censured.

Last week, pro-Beijing lawmakers blocked a legislative motion to impeach Leung for his intervention in LegCo affairs.

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.