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Court Cases

Billionaire brothers in the dock in Hong Kong trial

The trial of two billionaire brothers for allegedly bribing a government official is underway in Hong Kong. It is considered one of the biggest corruption trials Hong Kong has ever seen.

Raymond and Thomas Kwok, two brothers aged 60 and 62 who run the property development firm Sun Hung Kai Properties, were in a court in Hong Kong on Wednesday for the first day of their trial. The two men are accused of bribing a former senior government official in Hong Kong, and both have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The official, former head of civil service Rafael Hui, is also on trial. Prosecutors will seek to prove the Kwok brothers gave payments and unsecure loans to Hui to the tune of $4.38 million (3.15 million euros).

Hui is formally being accused of being "favorably disposed to Sun Hung Kai Properties... and Thomas Kwok and Raymond Kwok" during his time in office in return for the payments.

A board member at Sun Hung Kai Properties and a former Hong Kong Stock Exchange official are also on trial.

Sun Hung Kai Properties built some of Hong Kong's tallest skyscrapers and has one of the highest market values of real estate developers in the world. The brothers have an estimated combined worth of $12.6 billion (9.1 billion euros).

The high-profile trial is one of the biggest corruption cases to take place in Hong Kong since the city's anti-graft agency was created almost 40 years ago.

mz/kms (Reuters, AFP, AP)