Hong Kong stock exchange chief Charles Li was said to have been involved in controversial China hiring efforts when he worked at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in the past, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Li, who was chairman of J.P. Morgan China from 2003 to 2009, had recommended that the bank employ children and acquaintances of Chinese officials, clients and potential clients, the report said, citing people familiar with the matter and some emails.
Emails written by Li have surfaced because of a US bribery investigation into the bank, sources told the paper.
US authorities have been probing J.P. Morgan’s hiring of people connected to top government officials and business executives, a program known as “Sons and Daughters” or the “Client Referral Program” within the bank, as the bank sought to win business in China.
Li is said to have played a key role managing both client relationships and personnel decisions during his tenure at the Wall Street bank.
He sponsored a large number of referrals, including at least eight in 2008, according to the report.
The hires included a family friend of Huang Hongyuan, then a senior official at the China Securities Regulatory Commission and now the president of the Shanghai Stock Exchange.
Li said in a statement to the Journal that internships and referral hires were made based on credentials and feedback from multiple sources, were screened by the firm’s lawyers and compliance staff, and that he alone couldn’t decide to hire a candidate.
“I can recall that there was a formal process in place within the bank for dealing with these matters which I followed,” Li said.
He said he couldn’t recall specifics of internship and referral hiring decisions he made years earlier.
Li hasn’t been interviewed or questioned in relation to the US investigation, the Journal noted.
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