(Adds comments from Hong Kong's Department of Justice)

 

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 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 by offering to employ his son at the bank.

However, 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 a 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 $264 million to resolve U.S. civil and criminal charges.

In a reply to an inquiry, the Department of Justice said Wednesday that it could only appeal on matters of law. After considering the prosecutor's report on the reasons for acquittal, the trial evidence, and the circumstances of the case, it said it decided "no appeal is warranted in this case."

Joseph Tse, a senior counsel who represented Ms. Leung in the case, declined to comment.

 

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

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 03, 2021 07:21 ET (12:21 GMT)

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