The Department of Justice said on Wednesday that there was insufficient evidence to convict former Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and pro-Beijing lawmaker Holden Chow for corruption and misconduct in public office.

Leung received HK$50million from Australian engineering firm UGL as part of a takeover deal with insolvent property company DTZ, to prevent him from joining a rival firm within two years. The deal was signed shortly after Leung ran for chief executive in 2011. Leung received part of the payment after he became chief executive in 2012.

cy Leung Chun-ying
Leung Chun-ying. File photo: European Business Summit, via Flickr.

“The evidence fell short of establishing DTZ did not consent to Mr Leung accepting the monies or that the conduct fell within the mischief of an agent accepting advantage charge,” the department said. “There is no reasonable prospect of conviction of a corruption charge against Mr Leung.”

“As to the absence of declaration of such interests to the relevant authorities, since there is no conflict of interest on the part of Mr Leung, there was no legal requirement for him to make declaration of the amount that he was to receive under the agreement with UGL entered into before he became the Chief Executive. The absence of declaration hence did not constitute any [misconduct in public office] offence.”

The former Hong Kong leader was accused last year of revising the scope of a Legislative Council investigation over an HK$50 million payment he received from Australian engineering firm UGL Limited.

A document on a select committee investigation seen by HKFP was submitted by DAB lawmaker Chow. The document contained at least 34 edits made on April 21 and 22 by a user named “CEO-CE,” which stands for the Chief Executive’s Office-Chief Executive.

Holden Chow
Holden Chow. Photo: In-Media.

Chow was forced to resign from the investigation committee following the scandal.

“Regarding the submission of amendments to the major area of studies of the Select Committee by Mr Chow which originated from Mr Leung, the amendments would not affect the proper functioning of the Select Committee,” the department said. “There is insufficient evidence to prove that such misconduct was serious enough to establish the offence of [misconduct in public office].

“For the sake of completeness, there is also insufficient evidence to substantiate other criminal offences against Mr Leung or Mr Chow.”

Jennifer Creery is a Hong Kong-born British journalist, interested in minority rights and urban planning. She holds a BA in English at King's College London and has studied Mandarin at National Taiwan University.