Exchange chairman's law links questioned
By STEVE VINES and KERRY WONG
FINANCIAL Secretary Mr Hamish Macleod may be asked to look into a possible conflict of interest involving the stock exchange's chairman, Mr Charles Lee Yeh-kwong, and his legal company, which stands to gain financially from the planned listing of mainland Chinese companies.
Mr Chim Pui-chung, who represents the securities industry in Legco, said he would raise the issue with Mr Macleod after he looked at the details.
He said the Government should establish clear guidelines for exchange appointees, such as Mr Lee, a partner in Woo Kwan Lee and Lo.
Mr Lee's legal firm has secured the biggest share of the legal work for the proposed mainland listings.
He does not sit on the Listings Committee which makes decisions on the Chinese companies, nor is it likely he would take part in discussions where there was a suggestion of conflict of interest. However, this may not be known in China.
Nine companies have been earmarked for a listing. Woo Kwan Lee and Lo is said to be representing no less than four of them - two confirmed - either as the company's legal representative or as the representative of the listing's sponsors.
The achievement of Woo Kwan Lee and Lo is all the more impressive because three of the nine companies have had their listing activities virtually put on hold pending substantial reorganisation, meaning they have not reached the stage of appointing legal advisers.
Mr Lee was not contactable for comment yesterday.