HONG KONG: Former Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang, the highest-ranking ex-official to be charged in the city's history, was on Friday (Feb 17) found guilty of one charge of misconduct in public office.
The nine-person jury, however, found Tsang not guilty of a second misconduct charge and failed to reach a majority decision on a bribery charge.
Sentencing is expected to be carried out on Monday. Misconduct carries a maximum of seven years in prison.
Sentencing on Monday. Misconduct carries maximum 7 yrs in prison.— Wei Du 杜唯 (@WeiDuCNA) February 17, 2017
The verdict came after six weeks of testimony from witnesses including Carrie Lam, Hong's Kong's former chief secretary who is in the running for the city's leadership election next month.
Tsang, who was dressed in a suit and his trademark bow tie, emerged from the court with his wife and family, looking sombre after the verdict was handed down.
He gave no initial comment to media.
Tsang was accused of accepting refurbishment and decoration work on the three-storey penthouse in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen that he had rented from the Shenzhen East Pacific Group, owned by property tycoon Bill Wong Cho-bau. The jury failed to reach a majority decision on this charge after deliberating for nearly two days.
The first misconduct charge was for Tsang's failure to disclose his rental negotiations with Wong while his cabinet discussed and approved a digital broadcasting licence for a now defunct radio company, Wave Media, in which Wong was a major shareholder, according to Hong Kong's anti-graft agency, the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
He was found guilty on this count.
The second misconduct charge was in connection with Tsang's nomination for a government award of an architect who had carried out design work on the Shenzhen penthouse.
He was found not guilty of that charge.
The once-popular, church-going son of a policeman found himself in hot water at the twilight of his lengthy career.
He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his distinguished public service under the British colonial administration before Hong Kong's return to Chinese rule in 1997.
His close links with the former British colonial government created unease in Beijing and among pro-Beijing elements in Hong Kong.