Chaoda's Kwok, Fidelity's Stairs Accused of Insider Trading in Hong Kong
By Debra Mao - Sep 28, 2011 7:29 AM ET
Chaoda Modern Agriculture Holdings Ltd. (682)’s Chairman Kwok Ho, Chief Financial Officer Andy Chan and Fidelity Management’s George Stairs were accused of insider trading by Hong Kong’s financial secretary.
The government alleges Kwok and Chan told Stairs about a June 2009 share placement three days before it was publicly announced, according to a notice released by Hong Kong’s Market Misconduct Tribunal today.
The portfolio manager at Fidelity Management & Research Company allegedly netted HK$1.98 million ($254,000) on behalf of the funds that he managed by selling 374,000 shares prior to the placement and then buying 630,000 shares at a lower price as part of the stock sale.
While insider trading can be punished by 10 years in prison and a HK$10 million fine in a criminal court in Hong Kong, the tribunal hearing this civil case only has the power to disgorge profits made or losses avoided. It can also ban individuals from being a director or manager of a corporation, and from dealing in any securities.
Nathan Dentice, a lawyer for Stairs, told the tribunal before the release of the notice that the allegations are unproven and shouldn’t be taken as facts.
Rimsky Yuen, a lawyer for Kwok, and Graham Harris, a lawyer for Andy Chan, didn’t comment on the case after the proceedings.
Rowena Kwok, spokeswoman for FIL Investment Management (Hong Kong) Ltd., said she wasn’t aware of the case and declined to comment.
Chaoda’s shares slumped 27 percent and were suspended on Sept. 26 after the misconduct proceedings were first reported. Eric Yip of Christensen, which handles investor relations for the Chinese food producer, didn’t respond to a request for comment earlier today.
Founded in 1994 by Kwok, Chaoda first listed in Hong Kong in 2000. Kwok, 55, is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s top political advisory body, and has a 19.6 percent stake in the company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Tribunal chairman Michael Lunn said he returned to Hong Kong yesterday afternoon to convene the hearing.
To contact the reporter on this story: Debra Mao in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.org