Billionaire property developers in Hong Kong are falling from grace recently – going from objects of adulation to ridicule. Now, prosecutors have made yet another arrest in a big-time bribery scandal that is embroiling one of Asia’s richest families.
The Associated Press reports that Walter Kwok, the former chief executive of one of Hong Kong’s biggest real estate developers, Sun Hung Kai Properties, Ltd., is under arrest, as part an unfolding bribery investigation.
Walter Kwok’s brothers, Thomas and Raymond Kwok, co-chairmen of the firm, were arrested in March. The Kwok family is one of the wealthiest families not just in China but in Asia as a whole. Since the bribery scandal broke, however, some reports put their net worth as dropping by more than $2 billion.
Reuters reported that trading in the company’s stock was halted on Friday, pending what the company described as the release of price-sensitive information.
The chairman of one of India’s largest road-building firms will now face a lie-detector test by government investigators probing the murder of an anti-corruption activist.
On Thursday, India’s Central Bureau of Investigation “received permission from a local court to subject Virendra Mhaiskar, chairman IRB Infrastructure Ltd.” to the polygraph test, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Corruption is widespread in Indian’s road building, amidst accusations of land grabs, bribery and other fraudulent activities. Satish Shetty, the murdered activist killed in 2010, “had been raising questions on several land deals in and around the city of Pune,” where he alleged that IRB “had grabbed government-owned land along the Mumbai-Pune expressway it had built.”
A federal grand jury handed down a new indictment against former New York Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno – charging him with taking kickbacks for accepting “consulting” payments from local businessmen while in office.
Bruno was previously convicted on similar charges in 2009, but a subsequent U.S. Supreme Court case resulted in a narrowing of so-called “honest services” fraud cases that prosecutors can bring. Consequently, an appeals court ruled six months ago that Bruno’s conviction had to be tossed out, but said he could be retried on new charges.
As The Saratogian in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. reports, Bruno “allegedly schemed to defraud his district and the state from about February 2004 until December 2006” and accepted $440,000 in bribes disguised as consulting payments. An Albany businessman “purportedly paid Bruno $20,000 per month as a consultant,” and Bruno was also “paid 20 $10,000 checks for further consulting with the other companies involved.”
Sweep to Bruno indicted for a second time