March 25, 2020 / 8:36 AM / 5 months ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Ex-Hong Kong exchange official charged with IPO-related bribery

(Corrects eight paragraph to clarify that there was only one payment of HK$2 million)

HONG KONG, March 25 (Reuters) - Hong Kong’s anti-corruption unit has charged a former exchange official with bribery and misconduct over a 2017 IPO application by thread manufacturer Shen You Holdings.

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) alleged in a statement on Wednesday that Eugene Yeoh took cash payments from a consultant as an inducement to view Shen You Holding’s Hong Kong listing application favourably.

Yeoh was joint-head of the IPO vetting team at Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing at the time, responsible for making sure applications were compliant with listing rules and endorsing recommendations to the bourse’s listing committees which have the final say. Yeoh left the bourse in May 2019.

Yeoh did not immediately respond to a LinkedIn message seeking comment and Reuters was not immediately able to obtain contact information for his lawyer.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong exchange said it “has cooperated fully with the ICAC in the conduct of its investigation of a former employee and will continue to do so.”

A government spokesman said the integrity and credibility of the bourse’s IPO vetting process was of utmost importance to Hong Kong’s reputation and it was very concerned by the case.

Shen You Holdings, which has a market value of about $5.2 million, did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Reuters was not immediately able to find a phone number for the company.

ICAC alleged in a statement that Yeoh concealed or failed to disclose the transfer of HK $9.15 million to his wife from IPO consultant Richard Lum. The statement said a payment of HK$2 million related to Shen You’s IPO.

Lum, who was charged with offering an advantage to a public servant, could not be immediately reached for comment. Reuters could not immediately contact his lawyer.

The anti-corruption unit said in June it had searched the offices of two firms that sponsor, or lead, IPOs and two listed companies, and had made three arrests.

At that time, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission said it was reviewing how the exchange dealt with listings. (Reporting by Alun John; Additional reporting by Donny Kwok; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Alexander Smith)

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