HKMEx’s Cheung Quits All Hong Kong Public Service Posts

Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange Chairman Barry Cheung resigned from all public service positions, including the city’s Cabinet, because he’s under police investigation, the government said.

Leung Chun-ying, the city’s chief executive, accepted Cheung’s resignation and said the police and Securities and Futures Commission will “impartially” probe the HKMEx and Cheung, according to a statement yesterday.

Cheung, reached by mobile phone yesterday, declined to comment. The Mercantile Exchange chairman, who ran the 2012 election campaign for Leung, had earlier this week taken leave of absence from his public positions.

The HKMEx surrendered its license in the week ended May 18, telling the Securities and Futures Commission that trading revenues couldn’t support operating expenses. The regulator found “serious” suspected irregularities in the exchange’s financial affairs and referred the case to the police.

Yesterday, three men arrested as part of the probe were charged with having false documents including letters related to a $460 million check and $11 million of funds. Kowloon City Magistrate Clement Lee denied bail to the men, all from mainland China, and adjourned the hearing. No mention of HKMEx was made in the charges or in court.

Cheung, the founder and largest shareholder of the HKMEx, said previously that the three aren’t current or former employees.

In addition to the Cabinet, known as the Executive Council, Cheung quit the Urban Renewal Authority, the Standing Committee on Disciplined Services Salaries and Conditions of Service, the Commission on Strategic Development and the Long Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee.

Cheung’s resignation as Urban Renewal Authority chairman will not have a “significant” effect on the agency’s work in the short term, and a suitable replacement is being sought, Hong Kong Development Secretary Paul Chan said in a statement.

The change in the authority’s management will not have material impact on the city’s housing market, Anthony Cheung, secretary for transport and housing, said in a statement.

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