A Hong Kong airport executive has admitted his dealings with a Macau businesswoman in a controversial flat swap that has embroiled his wife, Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs Betty Fung.
However, Wilson Fung, 52, insisted his wife was unaware of the transaction, Apple Daily reports.
Betty Fung was earlier accused of potential conflict of interest in a 2013 deal in which her Mid-Levels flat, plus HK$6.5 million (US$837,871), was exchanged for two adjoining apartments in Happy Valley.
The transaction allegedly saved Fung HK$3 million in costs and another HK$1 million in property tax.
Wilson Fung’s admission corroborated reports about his dealings with Cheyenne Chan, a sister-in-law of Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho.
Chan owns Wiseon Ltd., which in turn owns the Happy Valley flats.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, Wilson Fung said the transaction was between him and Chan, 60, and that his wife was “kept in the dark”.
Fung is on leave of absence from the Airport Authority where he is executive director for corporate development.
“I am deeply sorry for the disturbance the incident has brought to my wife and my family,” Fung said in the post.
Fung did not elaborate about the nature of his relationship with Chan, with whom he operated a helicopter service to Macau in 2007.
Also, he did not say when the negotiations on the flat swap began and why his wife was kept in the dark.
On Friday, Apple Daily reported that Betty Fung was seen leaving home with a luggage and was not wearing her wedding ring.
A day earlier, she told journalists she did not know the identity of the other party in the deal.
Avery Ng, chairman of the League of Social Democrats which reported the scandal to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), said Wilson Fung’s statement failed to dispel doubts in the public mind.
As a former senior civil servant, Fung should have known the consequences of his actions, especially in relation to conflict of interest, Ng said.
Wilson Fung served as secretary general of the Economic Development and Labor Bureau where he oversaw policy on commercial helicopter services.
Chan is chief executive of Sky Shuttle Helicopters Ltd., leading to suspicions that the property transaction might have been part of a bigger deal.
Former ICAC investigator Lam Cheuk-ting said Fung should disclose the full details of the the transaction.
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