Sunday, March 14, 2010

TVB General Manager Arrested in Corruption Case

Stephen Chan (陈志云, pinyin: Chén Zhìyún), a general manager with Hong Kong's largest TV network, TVB, has been arrested by Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). Chan, three other TVB employees and an executive of an advertising and production company were all arrested on Thursday March 11 "in relation to corruption allegations". They are alleged to have cheated TVB out of HK$10 million (about US$1.3 million).

While ICAC has yet to release details of the case, the allegations are believed to centre on the actions of a shell company established by Chan and his cohorts. Chan is suspected of awarding TVB production contracts to his shell company, then outsourcing them to other production companies at a cheaper price and pocketing the difference. A second set of allegations is believed to concern the shell company's charging shopping centres and other promotional outlets appearance fees for TVB stars, but not passing the fees on to the stars. Stephen Chan may also be charged with accepting bribes.

As General Manager of broadcasting, a post he held from 2003, Chan was one of TVB's highest ranking executives. He was also the best known to the public, courtesty of a hosting role on the interview show Be My Guest. His dual role as executive and on-screen star was a controversial one, with critics claiming his hosting duties were distracting him from his management responsibilities. Only last month Chan had denied rumours that he would soon leave TVB.

The other four people arrested were TVB head of business development Wilson Chan, variety department executive producer Wilson Chin, TVB actor Ning Jin, and Edthancy Tseng Pei Kun, the director of Idea Empire advertising production company. ICAC has yet to lay any charges, but all four TVB employees were suspended by the station after the arrests.

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