03/30/2012 10:21 EDT | Updated 05/30/2012 05:12 EDT

Billionaire Brothers Face Corruption Charges


Two brothers whose luxury real estate developments play a prominent part in Vancouver's skyline have been arrested in Hong Kong on suspicion of corruption.

Ray and Thomas Kwok were taken into custody as part of a reported wide-ranging investigation by Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption.

The pair are part-owners of Asia's biggest real estate developer, Sun Hung Kai Properties.

The arrests sent the company's stock plummeting, bringing about a loss of about $5 billion in value.

The Kwoks’ Canadian subsidiary, Aspac Developments, is known for some of Metro Vancouver’s priciest real estate with properties in the city’s Coal Harbour area and in Richmond.

The first phase of the River Green luxury project in Richmond sold out in 2010 before any units were built, including penthouses priced at $3.4 million.

Following reports of the Kwoks’ arrest on Friday, City of Richmond officials tried to reassure people who have bought into the project.

"The City of Richmond has no reason to believe this will impact the development of River Green,” said city spokesman Ted Townsend.

The brothers, reputed to be worth about $18 billion, have been released from custody, but will face further questioning in the coming days.

Details of any crime the Kwoks were alleged to have committed have not yet been made public.