By Joanne Chiu 
 

The Hong Kong government won't appeal the acquittal of a former banker at JPMorgan Chase & Co., who was found not guilty of bribing a potential client by offering a job to his son.

The city's antigraft agency, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, had charged former banker Catherine Leung Kar-cheung in 2019 with bribing the chairman of Kerry Logistics to win a mandate for an initial public offering by employing his son at the bank.

But on Feb. 1, a Hong Kong judge ruled that Ms. Leung, a former vice chairwoman of JPMorgan's Asia-Pacific investment banking business, wasn't guilty of two counts of bribery. The judge said it wasn't certain if she intended to win the deal mandate via the job offer or just to maintain and build a good relationship with the potential client.

The prosecution followed scrutiny from the U.S. government over JPMorgan's so-called Sons and Daughters program, which entailed hiring relatives of clients and prospective clients to win investment-banking business. The U.S. bank in 2016 admitted violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and agreed to pay US$264 million to resolve U.S. civil and criminal charges.

In a reply to an inquiry, the ICAC said Wednesday: "The Department of Justice, having considered the report of the trial prosecutor on the reasons for the acquittal, has decided that no appeal is warranted in the case". It didn't provide further details.

Joseph Tse, a senior counsel who represented Catherine Leung in the case, said she has no comment. The Department of Justice didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

Write to Joanne Chiu at joanne.chiu@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 03, 2021 05:48 ET (10:48 GMT)

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