Bank pressed client to sign, court told

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 March, 2010, 12:00am

Anita Chan Lai-ling, the widow of philanthropic educator Chan Shu-kui, had allegedly been pressed to sign accumulator contracts by a banker in the two days before she died in October 2007.

Shine Grace Investment - which was previously run by Chan - is suing Citibank and one of its vice-presidents, Hailey Mak, for damages in the Court of First Instance.

Yesterday, Mr Justice William Stone gave a judgment on a pretrial issue regarding the preparation of the defence case and details surrounding Shine Grace's claim were revealed.

Justice Stone said the central claim concerned nine accumulator contracts that resulted from dealings between Mak and Chan at the Adventist Hospital on October 17, 2007.

The contracts facilitated the purchase of shares in mainland companies listed on Hong Kong's main board in mid-October, particularly October 15 and 16.

The judgment said the Shine Grace claim was for the 'very substantial losses' incurred by the transactions made under the contracts.

Shine Grace is demanding Citibank repay the losses from the transactions of US$3.2 million to US$5 million. It is also seeking the contracts be declared invalid.

Shine Grace alleged that the contracts were not authorised and that Chan was under undue influence or oppressive conduct at the time she signed them, when she was seriously ill. The claim also alleged that Mak harassed Chan with telephone calls and that Chan was not in a condition to make a sound decision.

Shine Grace also alleged there was a breach of statutory duties by both Citibank and Mak as the transactions under the nine contracts signed by Chan were unreasonable and 'massively imprudent'.

In his judgment yesterday, Justice Stone required the bank and banker to amend their defence and asked them to expedite the process so that the case could be tried soon.