A Hong Kong billionaire developer with ties to Vancouver's condominium market has been sentenced to five years in prison for bribery.
Thomas Kwok, once the co-chairmain of Sun Hung Kai Properties – the world's second most valuable real estate firm, was sentenced to five years jail time and fined $500,000 HKD ($74,858) on Tuesday. In Canada, Sun Hung Kai Properties operates under its subsidiary Aspac Development based out of Vancouver.
In one of the most high profile cases to arise from Chinese president Xi Jinping's anticorruption purge, Mr. Kwok was found guilty for bribing Hong Kong's former chief secretary Rafael Hui.
As the second most senior official in Hong Kong, Mr. Hui was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison and must pay back the government $11.2-million HKD (about $1.7-million).
In an email from Aspac Development's senior vice president, Raymond Li said their Vancouver office has "operated independently" since 1993 and, "it is business as usual."
Aspac Development is known for altering the skyline of Vancouver's wealthy downtown Vancouver waterfront neighbourhood, Coal Harbour, by building eight high-rises since 2003. It was also responsible for Wesbrook Village, a 17-storey luxury condominium development at the University of B.C.
The condo-developer is currently marketing River Green, a 27-acre, multi-phase development south of Vancouver in Richmond by the former Olympic speed skating oval.
The charges to both Thomas Kwok and Mr. Hui date back to 2005, before Mr. Hui took office. Mr. Kwok asked him to be his eyes and ears on land sales whilst in government. In return, Mr. Hui was given millions of dollars that supported a luxurious lifestyle that included fine dining, a mistress and a racehorse.
Mr. Kwok's brother, Raymond Kwok, is now the sole chairman of the organization after being acquitted of similar accusations. The combined net worth of both brothers is over $20-billon (U.S.), according to Bloomberg.