Harvard graduates also planning to sue after accusing ex-president of

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 February, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 February, 1999, 12:00am

A prestigious club of Harvard graduates is to call in police and take its own legal action against a former president accused of mishandling $3.9 million.

They voted overwhelmingly to take civil action against Stephen Chik Wai-wan to recover club funds.

The scandal broke last December when it was discovered that a $2.6 million donation by Dr York Liao, executive director of liquid crystal display makers Varitronix, to the university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, had disappeared.

Club members allege internal investigations found the ex-president had transferred $1.33 million in club money and the donation, made 12 months earlier, to companies linked to himself.

After approaches by the club, Mr Chik is understood to have repaid $3.4 million before he was removed from office in February last year.

The incident rocked the club and solicitors Clifford Chance initially suggested that members keep the matter under wraps.

'Triggering such an inquiry by the police is at odds with the club's objective of 'undertaking projects and activities to promote the interest of Harvard University',' the law firm noted.

Current president Aaron Tan Hee-hung said the scandal had harmed the reputations of Harvard and its alumni, but he was pleased the matter was coming to a close.

The club was consulting Harvard and would form a committee to report to police and supervise litigation, he said.

Mr Chik had not been told of the club's decision because 'nobody knows how to reach him', said Mr Tan.

The club - whose former members include the Financial Secretary, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, and the Director of Home Affairs, Shelley Lau Lee Lai-kuen - claims that he still owes money and interest amounting to $900,000.

Members said they would not take action against former treasurer Ed Yun Wong, who had apologised to members on Thursday.

Mr Chik, a 1986 economics graduate and director of Pacific-Asia Group, also faces a claim in the High Court for allegedly using bogus financial statements to attract investments of more than US$2 million (about HK$15.48 million) into the group, which is now facing liquidation.

He is married to the director and controlling shareholder of Seapower Resources, Shirley Choi Siu-lui. Mr Chik was unavailable for comment.