The Democratic Party has urged former chief executive Leung Chun-ying to reveal documents in his possession to prove his version of the facts concerning his HK$50 million payout from Australian firm UGL.

The party successfully raised HK$2 million in an attempt to further investigate the controversy. In a legal letter, Leung’s lawyers warned of a criminal libel case against party members who launched the crowdfunding campaign.

Senia Ng (centre). Photo: Democratic Party.

Leung received what he described as a non-compete and non-poach payment of HK$50 million from UGL after it acquired DTZ. Leung was DTZ’s director in 2011, before he ran for chief executive. The payments were made in 2012 and 2013, while Leung was in office, but were only made public by Australian media in 2014. Leung has denied any wrongdoing.

In the legal letter, the lawyers claimed that Leung received written consent from Tim Melville-Ross, the chair of DTZ’s board to negotiate the UGL deal. But the Democratic Party said in response that such documents were never made public.

“If Leung actually did receive this written consent, we hope he can reveal it as soon as possible – our lawyers invite him to reveal it within 14 days,” said Senia Ng, a barrister and member of the party.

Contradictory reports?

The legal letter also said DTZ, the company’s debtor Royal Bank of Scotland and their advisors were fully aware of Leung’s deal, citing a Sydney Morning Herald report in October 2014.

But the party said the legal letter cherry-picked information as it did not mention another report by Fairfax Media that said the DTZ chair and the Royal Bank of Scotland had no knowledge of the deal.

Ng said that, if Leung’s assertions about written consent were true, they may be in line with the legal advice the party received about there being prima facie evidence of Leung committing an offence.

Ng said there were still questions over whether the entire board of DTZ had meetings to approve Leung’s deal, even though the board chair may have allowed Leung to negotiate with UGL.

Leung Chun-ying. File photo: In-Media.

In Leung’s legal letter, it was mentioned that John Forrester, the then-chief executive and a director of DTZ, had explained why UGL’s purchase would be beneficial to the firm.

But Ng said: “His opinion cannot represent the whole board as well.”

Leung maintained he did not receive any complaints from the tax authorities or relevant people in the case, and he had compiled with all declarations of interest as chief executive.

But the Democratic Party said Leung had not released all of the relevant information, thus further investigation was required.

“Our analysis is based on publicly available documents – we do not have the other documents because Leung refused to release them, we have been chasing him for a long time,” Ng said. “We do not agree with his accusation that we are making malicious accusations.”

Kris Cheng

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.