The Corruption Plunge

Raymond Kwok (L) and his older brother Thomas Kwok at a 2009 news conference. / REUTERS

A day after the arrest of Hong Kong’s billionaire brothers, Raymond and Thomas Kwok, on suspicion of corruption, shares in their real estate company tumbled 13 percent, losing a staggering $5 billion in value in trading Friday.

Joint chairmen of the biggest real estate company in Hong Kong, the Kwok brothers were brought in for questioning by the Independent Commission Against Corruption, as part of a larger investigation into violations of Hong Kong’s anti-bribery laws.

While the company issued a statement late Friday saying there would be no changes at the top, the market reaction was swift and punishing for the blue-chip stock. Moody’s lowered its outlook to negative.

The brothers head Sun Hung Kai Properties and–before the charges–controlled an $18.3 billion family fortune, which put them in the No. 27 spot on the Forbes International list of the world’s wealthiest.

Sweep to Sun Hung Kai dives as billionaire Kwok brothers are arrested

More heads are rolling in England’s phone hacking scandal.

The latest is Scotland Yard’s communication’s chief, who resigned yesterday. The official, Dick Fedorcio, stepped down after learning he would face disciplinary proceedings over a contract involving a former News of the World executive, who was later arrested on suspicion of breaking into voicemails.

An Associated Press account said that Fedorcio is the third senior police figure to step down in the phone hacking scandal.  A British news station reported yesterday as well that a leaked document showed that corrupt police officers helped private investigators working for organized crime gangs and also deleted sensitive police intelligence records.

For years, both executives at News of the World and officials at Scotland Yard had insisted that there was no evidence of widespread phone hacking at the tabloid.  An inquiry currently underway is now exposing many of these illegal practices.

Sweep to UK hacking scandal claims 3rd senior police figure

A young rape victim – who had survived after being raped, strangled and set on fire – died yesterday in a Ukrainian hospital.

The horrific end to the life of Oksana Makar, 18, had prompted a national anti-corruption outcry, after two of the suspects in her attack were released, ostensibly for lack of evidence.  The two were relatives of local government officials. Ukrainians outraged by their release saw it as prompted by a culture of impunity for the elite and well-connected.

The Independent of London reports that the protests have now lead to the arrest of the two men, who are now being held in a pre-trial detention center and have been charged with murder, as well as rape, following the death of the young woman.

Sweep to Rape victim who took on Ukraine corruption loses her life

Leslie Wayne

Leslie Wayne

Leslie Wayne, former senior editor at 100Reporters, is an award-winning business reporter, formerly at The New York Times. Ms. Wayne joined The Times in 1981 and has covered Wall Street, banking industry regulatory reform, municipal finance scandals and, most recently, the aerospace and military industries. Ms. Wayne has an M.B.A. in finance from Columbia Business School and was also a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Business and Economic Journalism.