Mastermind Of Hong Kong's Largest Fraud Scheme Pleads Not Guilty

Hong Kong Fraud Case
A man rides a cable car at the Ocean Park at Aberdeen's harbour southwest of Hong Kong (Photo: Reuters / Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

The alleged mastermind who is in the middle of Hong Kong's largest fraud case has reportedly pledged not guilty to the fraud charges being brought against him. Roy Cho Kwai-chee, a former executive director at Convoy Global Holdings, along with two other associates faced the charges against them at a court hearing held on Thursday.

The three company officials, namely Cho, Christie Chan Lai-yee, and Byron Tan Ye-kai, will be facing a trial slated to be held on May 4 next year. All three are currently out on bail while they await their trial. If they are found guilty of the charges brought on them by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) agency, the three executives could be facing jail sentences of up to seven years.

 Apart from the three company officials, several other high-ranking employees were also previously arrested. Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission, working together with the ICAC, launched a string of arrests in late 2017.

Among those that were arrested were Convoy chairman Quincy Wong Lee-man, Lerado Financial Group chairman and former Convoy executive Mark Mak Kwong-Yui, and Convoy deputy chairwoman Rosetta Fong Sut-Sam.

Cho was formally charged by the ICAC in May of this year. The other two executives were also charged not long after.  The charges were a culmination of a two-year-long investigation into Cho and his associates' activities. Convoy Global Holdings is one of the largest financial planning services providers in Hong Kong with over 100,000 customers.

The Securities and Futures Commission had also filed a separate charge against Christie Chan for conspiracy to defraud both the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and Convoy. The charges were in relation to bond offerings made by the company between June 2014 and December 2017.

According to the agency's investigation, Cho had allegedly conspired with other Convoy employees to defraud and company and its affiliates. This resulted in the $11.3 million acquisition of investment firm True Surplus International under fraudulent circumstances.

Court documents revealed that Cho intentionally hid the fact that he held a substantial stake in Convoy and a 55 percent stake in True Surplus during the acquisition.  Cho and his associates also held the fact that they had received around $7.28 million from the deal.

Following the arrest of the Convoy employees, the company's share prices immediately dropped. Trading of the company's shares has since been halted and the company has overhauled its management infrastructure after the issue became public. Convoy has also filed its own lawsuit against Cho and his cohorts include one suit that is seeking up to $91.37 million in compensation.

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