Citic Pacific

Former Citic Pacific executive punished for insider trading

Former Citic Pacific executive punished for using information about company's forex losses

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2012, 2:34am

A former senior executive of Citic Pacific was sentenced to 15 months' imprisonment and ordered to pay HK$1.25 million for insider dealing of the company's shares in 2008.

Simon Chui Wing-nin, who was the company's assistant director of finance at the time, was sentenced by the Eastern Magistracy yesterday. He was convicted of two counts of insider dealing last month.

Chui was fined HK$1.02 million and told to pay the Securities and Futures Commission HK$228,469 as investigation costs. This almost cancelled out his gains from his insider dealing, which had helped him prevent a loss of HK$1.36 million.

The court also banned him from sitting on the board of any Hong Kong company for three years.

During the hearing, the SFC said Chui sold 81,000 shares of Citic Pacific on September 9 and 12 in 2008 after he came to know that the company was facing substantial losses from trades in foreign-exchange derivatives contracts as it had bet wrongly on the Australian dollar.

The SFC found Chui had been involved in assessing the impact of the decline in the Australian dollar on some foreign-exchange derivative contracts, and he also came to know from colleagues that the company had suffered huge losses from those bets.

The company issued a profit warning on October 20, 2008, saying it had incurred a mark-to-market loss of HK$14.7 billion, which led the company's stock to drop almost 60 per cent over the following days.

Chui sold most of his shares during the period, when he had access to information about the losses but the public did not. The SFC estimated the notional loss Chui thus averted amounted to HK$1.36 million.

Insider dealing, a criminal offence in Hong Kong, applies to cases when shares are traded on the basis of non-public, price-sensitive information to make profit or avert losses. Offenders face a maximum jail term of 10 years and a fine of HK$10 million.

"There is no excuse for this kind of blatant insider dealing," said Mark Steward, an executive director of enforcement at the SFC.

"The SFC will continue to attack all forms of market misconduct to protect and enhance the quality of Hong Kong's markets for the benefit of the investing public in Hong Kong and abroad."