HONG KONG, March 31 Hong Kong's anti-corruption
agency searched an office belonging to a top JPMorgan Chase & Co
banker in the city who recently resigned, amid a U.S.
investigation into the bank's hiring practices, according to
The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) on
March 26 searched the office of Fang Fang, JPMorgan's outgoing
chief executive officer for China investment banking, seizing
computer records and documents, according to the reports.
On March 24, an internal memo said Fang would leave the firm
but gave no reason for his resignation. The Wall Street Journal,
which first reported Fang's departure, said he had emerged as a
key figure for U.S. authorities as they investigate whether the
investment bank violated bribery laws by improperly hiring the
relatives of well-connected Chinese officials.
"We do not comment on individual cases," said Alan Tse, a
spokesman for ICAC in Hong Kong.
Marie Cheung, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for JPMorgan,
declined to comment, while Fang Fang could not be immediately
reached for comment.
U.S. authorities are examining whether JPMorgan's hiring of
China Everbright Group Chairman Tang Shuangning's son helped the
bank win assignments from Everbright, the Journal said, adding
that JPMorgan has provided U.S. prosecutors with emails from
Fang discussing the hire.
JPMorgan has withdrawn from underwriting a $3 billion Hong
Kong listing by China Everbright Bank Co Ltd - one
of two China initial public offerings it has stopped working on
while the investigation is being carried out.
Other firms that have come under scrutiny for their hiring
practices in Asia include Citigroup, Goldman Sachs
and Morgan Stanley.
(Reporting by Lawrence White and Farah Master; Editing by Ryan