"I'm Lovin' It"? Certainly not. McDonald's, the company questioned for its food nutrition, is now under a new controversy.
The head of McDonald's Hong Kong branch has been arrested for allegedly accepting bribes from food suppliers in return for using their products, local newspapers reported Tuesday.
According to the Ming Pao Daily News, the Big Mac's managing director in Hong Kong Joseph Lau has been arrested by Hong Kong's Independent Commission Against Corruption for taking bribes from food suppliers and then using their products. Other media however say the fast food company reports Lau is on leave.
He was the managing director of McDonald's in the Philippines for three years before taking up the top post in Hong Kong in May 2004. Lau also spent 10 years expanding McDonald's business on mainland China.
McDonald's Hong Kong declined to confirm the arrest of managing director Joseph Lau. It said in a statement that Lau is on leave, and wouldn't immediately say if Lau was suspended or had taken leave voluntarily.
Hong Kong's Ming Pao Daily News said anti-graft officials arrested Lau last week. Apple Daily said McDonald's suspended Lau pending investigation.
Hong Kong's anti-graft agency, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, arrested 27 people for alleged bribery over food supplies to restaurants last week. It declined to say if Lau was among them.
If charged and convicted of bribery, Lau faces a maximum penalty of seven years' imprisonment and a fine of HK$500,000 (US$63,930; €47,110).
Lau joined McDonald's in Los Angeles in 1983, according to an earlier press release on the company's Web site.
McDonald's, headquartered in Oak Brook, Illinois, operates more than 200 restaurants and employs more than 10,000 people in Hong Kong , according to its Web site.
Any publicity is good publicity is good, many would say. But can McDonald's afford this one?