Hong Kong tycoons Thomas, Raymond Kwok to stand trial in graft case

Hong Kong tycoons Thomas, Raymond Kwok to stand trial in graft case
Raymond and Thomas Kwok, chairmans of developer Sun Hung Kai Properties, walk into the High Court in Hong Kong May 8, 2014.

HONG KONG - Two of Hong Kong's richest tycoons will go on trial Thursday in the city's biggest ever corruption case - which analysts say threatens to cast an uncomfortable spotlight on cozy ties between officials and wealthy moguls.

Thomas and Raymond Kwok, who jointly chair development giant Sun Hung Kai Properties, and Hong Kong's former chief secretary Rafael Hui were arrested in a major swoop by the city's anti-graft watchdog in March 2012.

The two brothers, ranked fourth on the Forbes Hong Kong 2014 rich list, were accused by the watchdog of bribing Hui, who held the government's second-highest position and is the most senior official ever arrested for graft.

They were among five people charged with eight offences related to payments and unsecured loans amounting to HK$34 million (US$4.38 million). All have pleaded not guilty.

The others include another Sun Hung Kai director, Thomas Chan, and Francis Kwan, the former non-executive director of New Environmental Energy Holdings, an investment company.

Hui, 66, faces eight charges, some of which relate to misconduct in being "favourably disposed to Sun Hung Kai Properties ... and Thomas Kwok and Raymond Kwok" while in office in return for payments, according to a Department of Justice indictment.

Charges against Hui also relate to rent-free use of luxury apartments and acceptance of unsecured loans, the document said.

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