• Mon
  • Jul 28, 2014
  • Updated: 10:42pm

Lai See

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 March, 2012, 12:00am

Wu's hopes to serve blighted by a cloud of document boxes


Hospital Authority chairman Anthony Wu Ting-yuk has been making hopeful noises recently, about a position in C.Y. Leung's administration. 'I have been the chairman for eight years. I hope I can serve Hongkongers in other positions if there is an opportunity,' he told newspapers recently.


However, there appears to be one small cloud on the horizon. Wu has been the subject of outstanding disciplinary proceedings by the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants since December 2009, far and away the longest outstanding disciplinary matter being considered by the HKICPA.


Apart from Wu, who is also chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce and the Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre, other subjects of these proceedings are the big-four accounting firm Ernst & Young and Catherine Yen Ka-shun, a senior figure at the firm.


In an earlier piece, we said some movement was expected in the proceedings soon. However, if there has been some movement, it has only been in the arrival of yet more boxes of documents. Those familiar with the proceedings say the case is unusual in terms of the large numbers of documents, the number of letters asking for more time, and the numerous lawyers involved. The case, according to one estimate, could run for another year at least before arriving at a resolution.


The disciplinary proceedings relate to the collapse of New China Hong Kong Group (NCHK), which was formed in 1993 by a consortium of investors from Hong Kong, the mainland (including the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office) and Singapore.


After starting out with HK$221 million in 1993, its investments were less than succesful and in 1996 it had net liabilities of HK$764 million. The group went into creditor's voluntary liquidation in March 1999 amid claims from creditors exceeding HK$100 million.


Wu was financial adviser to NCHK. At the same time he was managing partner of Ernst & Young's China business in 1996, before becoming deputy chairman of the firm in 1998 and being named chairman in 2000. During this period, Ernst & Young was auditor to NCHK. Both Ernst & Young and Wu were subsequently sued. Both cases were settled out of court.


It is unclear how this will affect Wu's chances of political office. Clearly, we have to maintain the principle of innocence until proof of transgression. Yet, presumably, it would be embarrassing for the government to have one of its ministers told he could no longer practise as an auditor as a result of missteps in his business dealings.


At Tang's site, tomorrow never comes


Now that some of the dust has settled from the hurly-burly of the recent chief executive election, we went back for one last nostalgic look at Henry Tang Ying-yen's election website. But we were surprised to see that much of it has been dismantled. A few pictures remain, but most of his press statements have been deleted. There has certainly been no updating, as in no acknowledgement that Tang was defeated. His election slogan remains in place: 'We are tomorrow, Advance and prosper together.' It is tempting to think this should read, 'We are yesterday', but it's not considered best practice to kick a man when he's down.


The Lysistrata loan policy


Ever since the onset of the global financial crisis, governments have been shovelling billions to the banks in the hope that they would lend on the funds to industry and smaller businesses.


Naturally bankers have baulked at this, thinking smaller businesses were too risky and preferred safe havens such as the sovereign bonds of the likes of Greece, Italy Portugal, Spain and so on.


However, the high end of Madrid's escort service providers have taken matters into their own hands, so to speak. They have embarked on a general and indefinite withdrawal of their services to bankers until they start providing credit to Spanish families, small and medium-sized enterprises and companies, the online site Russia Today reports.


It all started with one of the ladies who forced one of her clients to grant a line credit and a loan simply by halting her sexual services until he 'fulfils his responsibility to society'.


The trade association's spokeswoman praised their success by stressing the government and the Bank of Spain have previously failed to adjust the credit flow. 'We are the only ones with a real ability to pressure the sector,' she stated. 'We have been on strike for three days now and we don't think they can withstand much more.'


We will be watching with interest.


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