• Sun
  • Jul 13, 2014
  • Updated: 7:28pm
Lai See
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 January, 2014, 1:27am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 January, 2014, 1:28am

Landlord sues Annells' AzureTax over unpaid office rent

BIO

Howard Winn has been with the South China Morning Post for two and half years after previous stints as business editor and deputy editor of The Standard, and business editor of Asia Times. His writing has also been published in the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Wall Street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune. He writes the Lai See column which focuses on the lighter side of business.
 

Given our extensive coverage of the trials and tribulations of Deborah Annells and her tax consultancy business, AzureTax, we feel duty-bound to advise you of the latest developments. The landlord who owns the company premises in Lippo Centre is suing her for unpaid rent and vacant possession of the property.

Readers will recall that Annells, a well-known tax consultant to expatriates, is currently on HK$250,000 bail after appearing in Eastern Magistrates' Courts in November last year charged with 29 counts of theft and fraud amounting to HK$25.4 million. No plea was taken then and the case was remanded until next month while police investigated two further complaints against her involving HK$12.7 million. On her website, Annells has denied the charges and says she will vigorously defend herself.

The recent writ says AzureTax pays a monthly rent of HK$229,467 for office space in Lippo Centre, which excludes rates, management fees and air-conditioning costs. It alleges that the company failed to pay rent, management and air-conditioning charges and rates for the period between September 1 and November 30 last year.

The tenancy agreement stipulates that if any of these payments is not met within 15 days, a daily interest charge of 2 per cent per month of the unpaid amount is also due (mesne profits).

The writ states that the landlord received payments on December 2, 12 and 19 last year of HK$799,985, HK$99,828.40 and HK$55,500 respectively. After the last payment, it alleges, this meant Annells owed HK$47,063.04, together with "mesne profits" of HK$8,821.70 per day from December 20. So far, this totals just over HK$247,000.

In addition, the landlord is demanding AzureTax quit the property.

Interestingly, there is a note on AzureTax's website that says negotiations are under way to sell Azure Tax Group, the Seychelles-based parent company, and subsidiaries AzureTax Ltd and AzureTrustees to Zetland Fiduciary Group, a Hong Kong-based group. It says the deal is expected to be completed early this year.

Annells said through her public relations company that the deal was progressing well and, under the deal, the tax business would retain its AzureTax name and logo. She also claimed: "Our business is doing well, with turnover up 10 per cent in the past financial year. We expect this to continue as no other independent tax practice in Hong Kong can provide the range and quality of cross-border tax services we do for the reasonable fees we charge."

 

Incinerator funding bid

Readers may recall that a delegation from the Environment Bureau and possibly some legislative councillors are heading to Europe in early March to look at various waste treatment technologies in use in their quest to come up with a solution for Hong Kong's vexed municipal waste problem.

The aim of the trip, according to a briefing paper for the Legislative Council panel on environmental affairs, is to learn about the development and operation of thermal waste treatment facilities and keep abreast of the latest developments. The three-day visit will look at different technologies, including moving grate incineration, plasma gasification and pyrolysis.

There is increasing interest in plasma gasification in Hong Kong except, it seems, in the Environment Bureau, which regards the proposed Shek Kwu Chau incinerator as "an essential tool to help Hong Kong reduce its reliance on landfills". The project is currently in limbo, having been refused funding by Legco last year.

However, we gather that the bureau is having another go at securing funding for the proposal. The secretary for the environment, Wong Kam-sing, will officially submit a request for funding for the incinerator during the environmental affairs panel meeting on February 24. This is several weeks before the planned trip to Europe. So it is unlikely to result in any major policy changes.

 

Have you got any stories that Lai See should know about? E-mail them to howard.winn@scmp.com

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5

This article is now closed to comments

John Adams
Howard : F**k Ms Annels' sorry story ( literally - she is obviously an *** - hole )
.
Keep your sharp teeth into the environmental stuff
dynamco
So the blinkered ENB will again go to Legco cap in hand on Feb 24 for extended landfills + an incinerator package deal just a week or so before they all jet off to 'look at' thermal technology in Europe.
So what's the point of flying to Europe if they have no intention of appraising new technology + do not even intend to visit the site of the Tees side plasma plant which is commissioning in March ?
Civic Party letter to Cyd Ho - trip to Europe views burners but not recycling efforts, conflicts with ENB's own Blueprint
www.legco.gov.hk/yr13-14/chinese/panels/ea/papers/ea0127cb1-780-1-c.pdf
The delegation will look at a polluting UK burner: suggest use breathing equipment
www.colnbrook.info/fingers-point-at-grundons-incinerator-as-toxic-cloud-covers-colnbrook/
But they will go + look at Danish (Incomplete) ski slope incinerator actually opposed by the Danish Environment Minister + when the lady Env Minister Ida Aukens has now announced a paradigm policy shift towards recycling + away from incineration. Denmark's current apathetic recycling rate is low 20% with no source separation.
www.mst.dk/NR/rdonlyres/EBE9E5D4-B765-4D4E-9954-9B713846E4CF/162130/Ressourcestrategi_UK_web.pdf
One must hope the joint delegation listens to Minister Ida Aukens' advice.
www.zerowasteeurope.eu/2014/01/the-story-of-denmarks-transition-from-incineration-to-zero-waste/
Then onwards + downwards to Sweden:
www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2012-10/29/sweden-imports-garbage-for-energy
jtc
If dynamco just clearly and concisely presents his points, he may make a more constructive impact in this crusade of his. Instead, his diarrhea down pour of web sites , unfiltered , unorganised and unfocused fire hose of information made him looks like a mad man in a rage.
Dao-Phooy
Enough about Ms Annells - she has been charged - why don't you leave this until the conclusion of the criminal case, otherwise your latest comments look more like a personal vendetta rather than any worthwhile news!
pbhawk
I agree; I normally like your column Howard but this Annells stuff is an obsession with you; why not pick some other targets instead?
 
 
 
 
 

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