Former Hong Kong IPO Vetting Chief Pleads Not Guilty as Trial Begins
(Bloomberg) -- A former Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd. executive in charge of vetting initial public offerings pleaded not guilty in the Hong Kong District Court on Monday to allegations of bribery.
Eugene Yeoh Kim-loong was accused of taking HK$9.15 million ($1.18 million) from IPO consultant Richard Lum Chor-wah between 2017 and 2019, in order to give companies an easier path to being approved to list on the bourse. The city’s anti-graft body, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, first took the pair to court in March 2020. They had been on bail since, until today’s court appearance.
Yeoh and Lum pleaded not guilty to all charges and will remain on bail.
Starting in 2015, Hong Kong Jockey Club member Lum recommended Yeoh’s later successful application to join the club, according to the prosecution.
From 2017, Lum also provided Yeoh with HK$9.15 million. They, as well as Yeoh’s wife, would meet at Exchange Square podium -- just steps away from the bourse’s office -- and at a restaurant in a local shopping mall, Elements, where Lum gave “paper bags with content” to Yeoh, according to the prosecutor.
Yeoh and his wife used the money to purchase investment funds and pay off credit card loans, the prosecutor said. The couple discussed investments in email and WeChat messages.
The duo partnered in 12 IPOs between 2015 and 2019, the prosecution outlined on Monday:
- LC Group -- renamed as Hope Life International Holdings
- Classified Group Holdings Ltd.
- CBK Holdings Ltd.
- F8 Enterprises Holdings Group Ltd.
- Cool Link Holdings Ltd.
- RMH Holdings Ltd.
- Indigo Star Holdings Ltd.
- Shen You Holdings Ltd.
- Simplicity Holding Ltd.
- MS Concept Ltd.
- Anchorstone Holdings Ltd.
- WMCH Global Investment Ltd.
Yeoh was also allotted shares in four of the companies, LC Group, CBK, Cool Link and Anchorstone, earning about HK$1 million when selling the shares, according to the prosecution.
Yeoh didn’t report his relationship with Lum to the exchange and failed to abstain from those IPOs, Human Lam Hiu-man, senior public prosecutor, told the court Monday. He backed the applications and endorsed approvals to the exchange’s internal listing department as well as the listing committee, an external group of professionals that decide on approvals, she said.
Court proceedings will resume on Monday next week.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.