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Release of inside information

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Kenneth, a senior partner of a large solicitor firm, had recently suffered from a tremendous loss in the stock market leading him in serious financial difficulties.  Meanwhile, one of his long-term trusted clients, ABC Limited, was planning to make a series of large investment in overseas property market in which multi-billion deals would be involved.  The company would soon look for a solicitor firm to take care of the legal part of the project.  With the close work relationship, Kenneth knew that his firm would be a favourable choice but other competitors were also fighting hard to get the business.


One day, an old classmate in law school, Joe, invited Kenneth out for a dinner.  Joe was a senior partner of a competitor solicitor firm which was also interested in the project.  Knowing that Kenneth was in great financial debts, Joe made a very tempting suggestion to Kenneth.  Joe asked Kenneth to pass him the project proposal details prepared by Kenneth’s firm.  Then, Joe would copy the same content and submit another proposal before Kenneth’s firm, in order to win the project contract.  In return, Joe would give Kenneth 5% of the contract value as a token of thanks, which would help Kenneth clear off most of his debts.  Kenneth began to think.


Would Kenneth violate any legislation if he accepted Joe’s offer? What should Kenneth do?

Case Analysis

Kenneth, as an agent of his solicitor firm, might violate Section 9 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance (POBO) if he accepted the advantage (i.e. 5% of the contract value) offered by Joe for leaking internal information to Joe without the approval of his principal (i.e. the law firm). Meanwhile, Joe might also violate the POBO for offering bribes.


Kenneth might also violate the professional code of conduct for compromising or impairing his independence or integrity, as well as his duty to act in the best interests of his client.

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