Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Martin Hennecke

Nine face $1m bribery rap over Macau firm's listing
<p>The Independent Commission Against Corruption arrested nine persons, including three accountants and two audit staff, for alleged bribery over the listing of a Macau construction firm in a joint operation with the Financial Reporting Council.</p><p>The ICAC said two of the accountants were appointed as chief financial officer of the construction firm at different times.</p><p>In a joint operation, codenamed &quot;Sniper,&quot; last week, the ICAC and the FRC searched the office of a certified public accountant firm and its sister company and found that five accountants/auditing staff had allegedly accepted bribes totalling over HK$1 million from the chairman of the construction firm for compiling a false accountants&#39; report for the construction firm&#39;s submission to the Hong Kong bourse in relation to its listing on the main board.</p><p>The ICAC suspects that part of the businesses mentioned in the accountants&#39; report does not exist and the report might have concealed some connected transactions.</p><p>The ICAC did not reveal the company&#39;s name but said the address of the CPA firm and its sister company is also the local registered business address of the involved Macau firm.</p><p>However, Sing Tao Daily reported the involved Macau firm is Huarchi Global (2296).</p><p>Huarchi said in an exchange filing last Friday that trading in its shares was being suspended pending the release of inside information. The company had not made any new announcements by the end of trading yesterday.</p><p>The Macau Commission Against Corruption is also conducting an investigation into possible offenses committed by the relevant persons in Macau and searched a number of premises, including the office of the construction firm, the ICAC said.</p><p>All arrestees have been released on ICAC bail and the ICAC said it is not appropriate to make further comments while enquiries are continuing.</p><p>The FRC said it conducted the search for the suspected misconduct of the relevant public interest entity auditors and registered responsible persons under the Financial Reporting Council Ordinance and the ICAC conducted the search and made some arrests for suspected corruption offenses under the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance.</p><p>The ICAC and the FRC singed a memorandum of understanding in September this year to enhance collaboration in fighting against corruption, illicit activities and malpractices.</p>

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