Like David Rockefeller in the United States and a succession of Rothschilds in Europe, David K.P. Li has long received the accolades that come to aristocratic bankers who combine wealth, political influence and public service.
Li is a cabinet official here, a senior member of the legislature and the chairman and chief executive of the Bank of East Asia, the flagship of the Li family’s business empire. And he has been leading Hong Kong’s recent campaign to establish itself as Asia’s main financial center.
So it has been all the more surprising that American regulators are expected to examine whether Li had any role in the possible leak of confidential information to a Hong Kong couple accused of making millions of dollars from insider trading of shares in Dow Jones.
Li, a longtime director of Dow Jones, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, has not been accused of any wrongdoing, and has denied leaking any information about a pending bid by News Corp. for Dow Jones. But people close to Dow Jones said that the company had opened an internal review of his actions, in a case that highlights the dangers that accompany the perks of being a company director.
The case has expanded beyond the Dow Jones review, as both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the attorney general for New York State are investigating trading in Dow Jones stocks and options in the days before News Corp. bid was made public.