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Confederation of Trade Unions received grants from US-based NGO according to files sent to mediaConfederation of Trade Unions received grants from Washington-based NGO, leaked files revealJoyce Ng14 October 2014A labour rights group that backs Occupy Central has received grants from a US-based NGO, according to files shared with the media.The files sent to the South China Morning Post purport to show that the Confederation of Trade Unions, one of the city’s biggest labour organisations which advocates for democracy, sought money from Solidarity Centre, a Washington-based non-profit-making body that promotes workers’ rights.Mung Siu-tat, chief executive of the CTU, said Solidarity had given HK$600,000 to the confederation in each of the past seven years. Mung said the money was granted for advocacy projects seeking collective bargaining rights and standard working hours in Hong Kong. There is no law barring non-profit-making organisations from receiving money from overseas.Mung dismissed the release of the documents as the latest step in a smear campaign against the Occupy Central movement that seeks democratic elections in Hong Kong. The secretary general of the CTU is pro-democracy lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan.“It’s not a secret. We have received subsidies from Solidarity,” Mung said.Solidarity, with an annual budget of about US$32 million in 2012, funded nearly US$3.4 million worth of projects in East Asia and the Pacific region that year. The leaders of some of the country’s biggest unions sit on the board.The senders of the documents, calling themselves Mong Kok Privacy Invaders, said in a note attached to the email that they were “ordinary people” who had their businesses affected by Occupy. “We were angry so we turned to the internet to dig out information. How come these Occupy people have so much money to support Occupy?” the email read.Non-profit bodies in the US are required to file financial statements with the Internal Revenue Service. That information is on public record. It is not clear where the documents sent to the Post came from. Those files include what appear to be grant proposals and correspondence between the CTU and Solidarity. Mung said he had not seen some of the documents before. But he confirmed that some were authentic.The senders claimed the records showed that the CTU had received HK$13 million “from the Americans to support the protests in Mong Kok”.The batch contained no document proving that the CTU had received that amount, nor any financial statement from the CTU. Most of the records did not have signatures. Among the records, two were reports allegedly compiled by the Solidary Centre referring to two funding requests from the CTU last year and this year.The senders alleged that the CTU did not pay taxes on the Solidarity grants. The government would require the CTU to report such revenue, and Mung said the CTU did. The Inland Revenue Department could not provide an answer after office hours yesterday.
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