A week after the shocking collapse of Whitney Group in the United States, WhitneyÆs Asian offices have so far emerged unscathed by the bankruptcy brought on by what the company claims to be misappropriations by its former CFO Jeffrey Sussman.

Up to $7 million is alleged to have been stolen from Whitney's accounts, leaving it unable to meet even payroll obligations in August. WhitneyÆs offices in the US have since been closed down in preparation for liquidation. Whitney has sued Sussman, who has filed a counter-suit.

However, in Hong Kong, an internal source says WhitneyÆs team of 15 intends to remain onboard and stay open for business. This has been possible because the Asian offices have kept separate incorporations and balance sheets away from New York.

Once considered as one of the top three headhunting firms in the area of investing banking, asset management and alternative investments in the region, Whitney has sustained several blows over the past year û problems that began even before the lid on the Asian job market blew.

In mid-2007, former star managing director Harry OÆNeill defected with half the groupÆs Hong Kong staff to rival firm Heidrick & Struggles. At the time, the group threatened OÆNeill and Heidrick with lawsuits and demands that required injury payments to cover WhitneyÆs financial losses.

As conditions in the US and Europe took a turn for the worse, the group shuffled resources and moved staff to Asia, in the hope of recouping lost ground in league tables and taking advantage of the so-called decoupling economic conditions in the region.

Sources say the company will issue an official statement within the coming week outlining its plans for servicing the Asian financial industry.

A leading source says, given that the current down market is unlikely to rebound any time soon, the firm may revive its restructuring practice to counter the current recruitment freeze and supplement its fee income.