Former JPMorgan Banker Acquitted in ‘Sons and Daughters’ Bribery Trial
By Joanne Chiu
A former senior banker at JPMorgan Chase & Co. was acquitted of bribing a potential client by hiring his son, in a defeat for Hong Kong’s antigraft agency.
Deputy District Judge Emily Cheung on Monday ruled that Catherine Leung Kar-cheung, a former vice chairwoman of JPMorgan’s Asia-Pacific investment banking business, wasn’t guilty of two counts of bribery.
Ms. Leung had been charged in May 2019 with bribing a businessman to win a mandate for an initial public offering, in a case brought by the city’s Independent Commission Against Corruption.
Her prosecution came after JPMorgan faced U.S. scrutiny for its so-called Sons and Daughters program, in which bankers in Asia offered internships and jobs to relatives of clients and prospective clients to win investment-banking business between 2006 and 2013. In 2016 JPMorgan admitted it had violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and agreed to pay $264 million to resolve U.S. civil and criminal charges.
The ICAC‘s case hinged on emails sent by Ms. Leung to colleagues, including one about the IPO which said: “We are a strong contender. Blink Blink nod nod, can we find a place for his son…” Another email that said while the young man “does not interview well,” he was likely to get a job offer from somewhere given an IPO mandate was up for grabs.
However, Judge Cheung said it wasn’t certain if Ms. Leung intended to win an IPO mandate via a job offer to Ang Ren-yi, the son of Kerry Logistics’s then-chairman Ang Keng-lam, or whether she just wanted to maintain and build a good relationship with the Kerry Group and its companies, including Kerry Logistics.
The judge said Ms. Leung didn’t make the final hiring decision. In addition, she said Ms. Leung’s discussions of the potential IPO in email exchanges could just be a way to brag about her performance at the bank.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
February 01, 2021 04:27 ET (09:27 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
Market news on Fintech Zoom.