Business

Ex-JPMorgan senior banker pleads not guilty to HK graft charges

HONG KONG: JPMorgan's former Asia investment banking vice-chairman, Ms Catherine Leung, pleaded not guilty to charges of bribery in a Hong Kong court yesterday.

Ms Leung is alleged to have offered employment to the son of the chairman of a logistics company as a reward for the chairman favouring JPMorgan when choosing banks to work on the company's IPO, Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) said in May.

Ms Leung did not comment when approached by Reuters outside the courtroom. The trial for the case has been set to start on Feb 25, 2020, and will continue for eight days.

A spokesman for JPMorgan declined to comment on the development yesterday and instead referred to a statement in May that said: "This is a historical case, which J.P. Morgan reached agreement on and settled in 2016."

JPMorgan agreed to pay US authorities US$264 million (S$360 million) in 2016 to resolve allegations it hired the relatives of Chinese officials - dubbed "princelings" - to win banking deals.

The bank did not admit or deny the charges.

As part of its settlement with the US Justice Department, a Hong Kong unit of the bank admitted to making quid pro quo hiring agreements with Chinese officials to win investment business.

US authorities at the time said JPMorgan's Asia unit created an elaborate programme, called "Sons and Daughters", that allowed clients and influential government officials to recommend potential hires. - REUTERS

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