A Hong Kong court on Wednesday sentenced two former senior bankers at the local unit of Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd to up to three years in jail for accepting bribes worth 5.8 million Hong Kong dollars (US$744,000) for helping to facilitate loans.
Derick Chan, former head of corporate banking at Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (Asia) Ltd, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to accepting HK$3.3 million of bribes in or around 2006-07 from Zeng Wei, a businessperson involved in property development and hotels. Beijing-based ICBC is China’s biggest lender by market value.
Chan Yick-yiu, who worked for Derick Chan and is former head of real estate and finance at the bank, was sentenced to three years in jail after being convicted of nine counts of bribery and money-laundering charges for accepting HK$2.5 million in cash, a HK$33,000 watch and five bottles of wine worth HK$14,500 from Zeng. He pleaded not guilty.
In sentencing, District Court Judge Fred Sham said while neither defendant exerted any undue pressure on bank staff handling loan applications, their actions involved a serious breach of trust in a city renowned for its anti-corruption efforts.
“The defendants were at the pinnacle of their career, but now they will plumb the depths. The moral is that corruption doesn’t pay,” the judge said.
The court heard earlier that Zeng applied to the bank for three loans for his companies totalling about HK$2.7 billion between August 2006 and March 2007. The bank approved the loans following favourable credit endorsements by the two defendants.
Zeng subsequently managed to have the repayment dates for two of the loans extended on five occasions as a result of the endorsement of both defendants, the court heard.
Zeng, who faces three charges, didn’t appear for trial in July and has been at large since. The court has issued a warrant for Zeng’s arrest.
ICBC took the former Hong Kong-listed ICBC Asia private in a deal at the end of last year worth HK$10.8 billion in order to streamline operations as the state-owned lender expanded its Hong Kong operations. The lending giant bought a controlling stake in ICBC Asia, formerly Union Bank of Hong Kong, in 2000 from China Merchants Finance Holdings Co. -By Polly Hui and Alexandra Wexler
Category: Hong Kong