HK$3m setback for Cheung Kong
The High Court yesterday rejected an application by Cheung Kong (Holdings) to obtain documents from the Urban Renewal Authority in an 11-year dispute over HK$3 million in fees related to The Center, its joint venture development in Central.
Cheung Kong has accused the URA of backing out of a verbal agreement that allegedly exempted the company from paying an outstanding bill for HK3.2 million in expenses related to the development.
Cheung Kong claims its deputy chairman Victor Li Tzar-kuoi met Lau Wah-sum, who was chairman of the Land Development Corporation - the former incarnation of the URA - on May 27, 2000 to settle the dispute. It said Abraham Razack, then the corporation's chief executive and now a lawmaker, was also present.
Cheung Kong had applied to the court to get documents from the URA, including its board minutes, written resolutions and correspondence, to prove the two sides had a full and final agreement that prevented the URA from making further claims.
In the meeting, Li, representing Cheung Kong and its subsidiary Agrila, was said to have agreed with Lau on how to settle an outstanding balance of HK$1 billion owing on the project. The two sides were said to have reached an agreement. But the development corporation later said Cheung Kong still had owned HK$3.2 million and denied there was any binding agreement. In 2002, the URA filed a claim for HK$3.2 million against the company.
In his judgment yesterday, Deputy High Court Judge Russell Coleman said an application for similar documents had been made to the Court of Appeal previously but had been rejected.
'This is a class of documents which had already been refused by the Court of Appeal, and which is not properly sought again,' his judgment read.