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Under-pressure Fan steps further out of public eye

Nickkita Lau

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

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CITIC Pacific managing director Henry Fan Hung-ling has temporarily stepped down from all of his major public positions.

The troubled executive's move adds to his leave of absence from the Executive Council and the chairmanship of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority, which took effect last Friday.

Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said he was not calling for Fan's immediate resignation from all his public duties.

But by stepping aside from these duties temporarily, he said, Fan has avoided conflicts of interest between himself and the Securities and Futures Commission's probe into CITIC Pacific's massive losses.

The government and Hong Kong University - where Fan is treasurer - accepted Fan's written request with immediate effect yesterday.

Fan, 59, is also chairman of the Standing Committee on Disciplined Services Salaries and Conditions of Service, and the Advisory Committee on Admission of Quality Migrants and Professionals.

Urban Renewal Authority chairman Barry Cheung Chun-yuen will serve as acting chairman of the standing committee, and Hong Kong Institute of Human Resources Management head Lai Kam-tong will be acting chairman of the advisory committee in Fan's absence.

Fan is also a member of the Advisory Committee on Post-Office Employment for Former Chief Executive and Politically Appointed Officials, and the Exchange Fund Advisory Committee.

He is on the Standing Committee on Judicial Salaries and Conditions of Service.

Hong Kong University has invited Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing chief executive Paul Chow Man-yiu to be acting treasurer. Fan held at least 10 public posts and has already taken leaves of absence as chairman of the SFC's takeovers and mergers panel and as non- executive director of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing.

But Ho said Fan will have to resign eventually because it is impossible for him to avoid fallout from the CITIC Pacific loss problem.

Chinese University political commentator Ivan Choy Chi-keung said even if the probe upholds Fan's integrity, the saga has put his competence in question.

Many shareholders have lost heavily on CITIC Pacific, and it will be difficult to convince the public that Fan should be allowed back into Exco, Choy said.


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