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Hong Kong property tycoon Joseph Lau charged with bribery, money laundering


People walk past the Sands Cotai Central before the opening of the resort in Macau on April 11, 2012.



Hong Kong property tycoon Joseph Lau has been charged with bribery and money laundering after a court in Macau rejected his request to have the charges dismissed.

The chairman of Chinese Estates Holdings has been accused of offering a bribe to a jailed former official in connection with a valuable parcel of land in the world’s biggest gambling hub, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Lau, who has denied the allegations, will be tried “in due course”, Bloomberg reported, citing a statement issued by Chinese Estates Holdings today.

The 61-year-old property developer is Hong Kong’s fifth-richest man with a fortune of $6.5 billion, according to Forbes.

According to Reuters, Lau is a former Goldman Sachs employee and was one of the first people to buy a Boeing 787 Dreamliner for personal use.

The BBC said Lau is the latest real estate mogul in Hong Kong to be face corruption allegations.

Billionaire property developers Thomas and Raymond Kwok and a former senior government official were arrested in March on suspicion of bribery amid an investigation by the city's Independent Commission Against Corruption.

The Kwok brothers run Asia's largest developer, Sun Hung Kai Properties.

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Property prices in Macau have skyrocketed in recent years and developers have been chasing after a limited supply of land in the former Portuguese colony, the Financial Times noted.

The Standard newspaper in Hong Kong said Chinese Estates would hold its annual meeting Friday.

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