Brokerage official guilty of taking HK$1.1m bribe
A former senior vice-president of HSBC Broking Services (Asia) has been found guilty of accepting HK$1.1 million in bribes to help a businessman buy shares in a listed company five years ago.
The District Court heard that Man Yui-fai accepted money from Joseph Ng King-ho, a financial adviser with Mitsumaru East Kit (Holdings), who then asked Man to recommend that his clients buy Mitsumaru shares in 2005.
Convicting Man yesterday, Deputy Judge Anthony Kwok Kai-on ruled that the businessman, Allan Wong Poh-meng, was a credible and honest witness. The court heard that Wong bought 10 million Mitsumaru shares for HK$1.25 each using his company's HSBC Broking account because of Man's recommendation.
Kwok believed Wong's testimony that he bought the shares from Man because of his confidence in HSBC Broking and its staff.
Moreover, the judge could not find any reason for Wong to frame Man.
The court heard that a settlement was eventually reached between Wong and Ng after the case came to light.
Man had pleaded not guilty to two counts of accepting an advantage as an agent but admitted one count of making false or misleading statements.
His sentencing was adjourned to January 21, pending a background report.
The judge rejected Man's claim that the HK$1.1 million was a private loan and ruled that the money was actually a reward from Ng.
Kwok also found that Man had given preferential treatment to Ng, as he had assured Wong that Mitsumaru would promise to buy back the shares if no placement was made after its final results announcement.
Kwok said the buy-back arrangement was outside Man's purview and he had violated staff guidelines.
The judge said Man had breached the trust of the client and the bank.
In her opening address, prosecutor Sabrina See said Man came to know Ng in December 2004 through a friend. Ng wanted Man to recommend Mitsumaru shares to his clients using his connections.
In the same month, the court heard, Man recommended that Wong buy Mitsumaru shares, claiming that they were undervalued and Mitsumaru was planning a share placement. Man told him Mitsumaru would buy back the shares if it did not announce a placement two weeks after announcing its final results.
Yet in April 2005, after Mitsumaru's announcement of its final results, it did not carry out a placement and did not buy back the shares Wong had bought.
The case came to light after Wong complained to HSBC Broking.