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Hong Kong's Tsang charged by anti-corruption agency

Hong Kong has filed two misconduct charges against its former leader Donald Tsang. He's denied the charges, linked to a real estate deal. Tsang's former deputy was jailed for taking bribes last year.

The Chinese territory's anti-corruption agency on Monday said the charges related to a luxury apartment rental in neighboring Shenzhen and the hiring of an interior designer before Donald Tsang quit office in 2012.

"The decision to prosecute was made after careful and thorough consideration of the available evidence," said Hong Kong's department of justice.

Tsang told the "South China Morning Post" that he had a "clear conscience" and would exonerate himself.

The city's Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) said Tsang had failed to publicly declare that he was in talks to lease the apartment while its owner was involved in a bid to seek a broadcasting license from Hong Kong's government.

Rafael Hui ehemaliger Verwaltungssekretär Hong Kong

Hui was jailed last December

In the second charge, the ICAC alleges that Tsang failed to disclose that an interior designer he hired to redecorate the apartment was someone he had proposed for a government honor.

Last December, Tsang's former deputy from 2005 to 2007, Rafael Hui, was jailed for seven-and-a-half years after being found guilty of taking bribes from the Hong Kong property tycoon Thomas Kwok and a relative.

Cozy ties

The case was one of several disclosures that have exposed cozy ties between wealthy tycoons and the city's leaders.

Tsang, a former financial secretary of the former British colony, took office in 2005 and retired in 2012 while apologizing for his "personal mishandling of matters in shaking public confidence."

During the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis he led the effort to successfully defend the city's currency against speculators.

During Hui's trial last year, prosecutors said Hui enjoyed an extravagant standard of living that far outstripped his official salary. In a bid for mitigation, Tsang wrote a letter to the court pleading for leniency for Hui.

Tsang was knighted by Prince Charles in 1997, before control of Hong Kong was returned to China, for his distinguished public service.

ipj/msh (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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