Anti-corruption officers in Hong Kong Thursday raided the homes of a pro-democracy media tycoon and a local legislator after a tip about bribes.
Police from the Independent Commission Against Corruption searched homes belonging to media magnate Jimmy Lai and his top aide Mark Simon.
The home of pro-democracy lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan was also searched, along with his office.
Lai has been a high-profile critic of Beijing and its rule over Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China.
The Chinese government is expected to announce Sunday a plan for direct elections of Hong Kong’s chief executive. The plan could include vetting of candidates by a committee in Beijing.
Last month, documents were leaked showing big donations by Lai to local pro-democracy political parties and politicians, including Lee.
Some lawmakers have alleged that not all the donations were declared, as required by law.
Lai’s company, Next Media, owns the Apple Daily newspaper, best known for its criticism of Beijing. He also founded the popular Asia clothing retailer Giordano.
Apple Daily’s website was offline for several hours in June because of an attack by hackers.
In February, the former editor of a leading liberal newspaper in Hong Kong, Kevin Lau, was stabbed in a street attack in the daytime.
The ICAC Thursday denied any political considerations were behind Thursday’s raids. It said tips about some lawmakers taking bribes triggered the searches.
The Hong Kong stock exchange suspended trading in Next Media shares pending an “announcement related to inside information of the company,” the HKEx said.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.