HONG KONG, July 13 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong's anti-graft watchdog ICAC has disclosed details of charges on Friday afternoon in a high-profile bribery case against five persons including Hong Kong's former Chief Secretary for Administration Rafael Hui and co-chairmen of Sun Hung Kai Properties Thomas Kwok and Raymond Kwok.
The other two defendants were Chan Kui-yuen, executive director of Sun Hung Kai Properties, and businessman Francis Kwan Hung-sang.
Sun Hung Kai is one of the largest property companies in Asia, and is also one of the 49 blue chips of the Hang Seng Index, with a market value of 250 billion HK dollars (32.2 billion U.S. dollars). Hui and the Kwok brothers were arrested in March on suspicion of corruption and released on bail.
ICAC said in a statement that the five defendants appeared in Eastern Magistracy in the day after being charged by the ICAC with bribery and misconduct offenses involving payments and unsecured loans totaling over 35 million HK dollars.
The five faced eight charges -- two of misconduct in public office, three of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, two of conspiracy to offer advantages to a public servant, and one of furnishing false information.
No pleas were taken. Magistrate David Dufton adjourned the case until Oct. 12 for mention, according to the ICAC statement.
Hui alone faced two misconduct charges, which alleged him of having willfully misconducted himself by accepting the rent free use of two flats and three unsecured loans totaling 5.4 million HK dollars from a subsidiary of Sun Hung Kai.
Hui and Thomas Kwok faced a joint charge of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, alleging that they conspired together for Hui to accept 5 million HK dollars from Thomas Kwok. Hui and Raymond Kwok jointly faced a similar charge of conspiring together for Hui to accept 4.125 million HK dollars through a company owned by Hui.
Hui, Thomas Kwok, Chan and Kwan were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, which alleged them of having conspired together for Hui to accept a series of payments totaling 8.35 million HK dollars.
Hui, Chan and Kwan were also jointly charged with one count of conspiring together to offer Hui a series of payments totaling 11.182 million HK dollars from Chan and Kwan.
The above offenses allegedly took place between June 2000 and January 2009, said ICAC.
Hui was granted cash bail of 500,000 HK dollars, while Thomas Kwok and Raymond Kwok were each on cash bail of 10 million HK dollars. Chan was allowed cash bail of 5 million HK dollars, while Kwan's bail was 200,000 HK dollars.
Hui and Kwan were also ordered not to leave Hong Kong, while the remaining defendants were required to inform the ICAC of their itineraries 24 hours before leaving Hong Kong.
Trading of Sun Hung Kai Properties was suspended shortly after the Hong Kong stocks opened on Friday.
Rating agency Moody's said it maintained a negative outlook on the A1 senior unsecured rating of Sun Hung Kai Properties, following the ICAC's announcement that the company's two co-chairmen and a board member had been charged in a bribery case.
"The latest development is credit negative for Sun Hung Kai Properties, as its reputation is now further at risk. Moreover, the co-chairmen and senior management could be distracted by the legal proceedings," said Peter Choy, a Moody's senior vice president. (1 U.S. dollar equals 7.76 HK dollars)