HK tycoon brothers plead not guilty in graft case
Hong Kong: Hong Kong`s billionaire Kwok brothers pleaded not guilty to graft charges on Friday, setting the stage for the city`s biggest corruption trial in years.
The pleas entered by Thomas and Raymond Kwok all but ensure their case will head to trial in the city`s High Court. The brothers are joint chairmen of Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd, one of the Hong Kong`s biggest developers. Forbes estimates they are the third richest people in Hong Kong, with a combined net worth of USD 20 billion.
Anti-corruption police arrested and charged the Kwoks last year, along with three others. Prosecutors allege that the prominent developers gave bribes in exchange for lucrative information on pending land sales.
The three other defendants also pleaded not guilty to a slightly revised set of charges.
They include Rafael Hui, formerly the second highest ranking government official; a former senior officer at stock exchange operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing; and an executive director at Sun Hung Kai.
Hui is alleged to have provided land sale information to the Kwoks between 2005 and 2007.
The corruption scandal shocked the southern Chinese financial centre, where residents have traditionally revered the city`s tycoons. But widening inequality, much of it linked to skyrocketing housing costs in the densely populated city, means that has given way in recent years to public anger over the billionaire class, many of whom made their fortunes in property.
Prosecutor Kevin Zervos said at the brief hearing that 72 witnesses would testify.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Panel discussion over vote bank politics on Hinduism
- DNA: Terrorists' new strategy of snatching weapons from Indian security personnel
- Panel discussion over delayed development in Ayodhya
- Don't give any importance to Ramgopal Yadav's remarks: Mulayam Singh Yadav
- Watch: Report on delayed development in Ayodhya
- Pakistan's brutality exposed; `Black Day` protesters thrashed in PoK - Video goes viral
- WATCH: Akhilesh Yadav's emotional speech revealing the real reason behind Samajwadi Party crisis; he was about to cry
- Pakistan High Commission staffer, briefly detained for espionage, asked to leave India in 48 hours
- India vs New Zealand: Awestruck Kiwis witness MS Dhoni driving his Hummer in Ranchi, and photo goes viral
- Naya Bazar explosion: Home Ministry seeks report from Delhi Police; one dead, 5 injured