CY Foundation raided by anti-corruption agents

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 January, 2013, 2:48am

Graft-busters raided the offices of CY Foundation - a listed, online gaming company, the former chairman of which was jailed for defrauding the firm - last month, a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange said yesterday.

The announcement said agents of the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) visited the firm's principal office in Hong Kong on December 13, requesting information relating to transactions of the firm and its subsidiaries during the period 2008 to April 2011.

It said the information and documents taken by the anti-graft agency were related to purported deposits of 18 million yuan (HK$22.4 million) and US$400,000 paid in 2008 and 2009, respectively, for the acquisition of some mainland properties. The deals have not materialised, but no refund has been made to the company.

The materials collected also involve alleged purchases of goods, totalling about HK$8.4 million, from suspicious sources in 2009, as well as purported special bonuses, made to some former employees without any proper authorisation, totalling about HK$6 million, in April 2011.

"The board understands from the ICAC that the investigation relates to the former management of the company under the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance and that the group, the existing directors and senior management are not involved in the investigation," CY Foundation said in the announcement.

Saying that the relevant payments under those transactions had been fully expensed or written off in the company's financial statements in 2011-2012 and before, the firm believes the transactions had no further financial impact on the group.

Most of the employees, except two back office staff, who received the special bonuses have left the firm, it said. The company said the investigation has had no impact on its business.

CY Foundation's former chairman, Theodore Cheng Chee-tock, was sentenced to five months' imprisonment in October for deceiving the company's board of directors and shareholders by concealing his ownership of a Wan Chai property and getting the firm to buy it for HK$53.5 million in 2007.

Through a listed company in Australia, of which he was the chairman, Cheng bought the property, on the 17th floor of 200 Gloucester Road, for HK$42.2 million in 2006. He breached listing rules by concealing his interest in the property.

Cheng was also banned from serving as a director of a listed company for three years.

Co-defendant Philip Yu, who was found guilty of defrauding the company and money laundering involving HK$12 million, was jailed for seven months.

Trading of the firm's shares has been suspended since December 13 and will resume today.