Three accountants among nine arrested by ICAC for alleged bribery over listing of Macao construction firm
In a joint operation mounted last week, codenamed “Sniper”, the ICAC and the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) searched the office of a certified public accountant (CPA) firm and its sister company. The address is also the local registered business address of a Macao construction firm listed in Hong Kong.
During the operation, the ICAC arrested nine persons, including three CPAs and two audit staff of the CPA firm and its sister company. Two of the CPAs were appointed as chief financial officer of the construction firm at different times.
The five CPAs and auditing staff have allegedly accepted bribes totalling over HK$1 million from the chairman of the construction firm for compiling a false accountants’ report for the construction firm’s submission to the Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Limited in relation to its listing on the Main Board. The ICAC suspects that part of the businesses mentioned in the accountants’ report does not exist and the report might have concealed some connected transactions.
The Macao Commission Against Corruption is also conducting an investigation into possible offences committed by the relevant persons in Macao and searched a number of premises, including the office of the construction firm.
The ICAC also interviewed a number of persons and searched various premises during the operation.
All arrestees have been released on ICAC bail. While enquiries are continuing, it is not appropriate for the ICAC to make further comments.
The ICAC and the FRC entered into a Memorandum of Understanding in September this year to enhance collaboration in fighting against corruption, illicit activities and malpractices. The two organisations will continue to maintain close collaboration to foster the audit quality and integrity of financial reporting by listed entities and their auditors and the integrity of the financial market.